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Showing posts from April, 2014

Every Last Trick at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

I tweeted during the interval of Every Last Trick that I thought I was tripping while watching the show. After having then seen the second act, I think I can certainly confirm that they were some pretty high end drugs.

All this in the positive respect. by the way. Every Last Trick for me acted very much like a legal high (plant food if anyone asks), with some of the most bizarre incidents possible.

A cast of four and an elephant provided a riotous show lead by head clown Aitor Basauri as Juan, he from Barcelona, well maybe not, but you get the gist. A heavy accent, a bit of conveniently mispronounced English. That sort of thing. A magical performance in every sense, down to his handling on the performance I saw, of the loosened belt audience member. Beware the front rows!

Juan's short suffering wife, played by Sophie Russell was also a delight. The perfect flapper crossed with a liberal dose of insanity. Who was equally impressive being manhandled around the stage unconscious. Lar…

Fiddler On The Roof at Royal & Derngate (Derngate)

If I was a rich man I would go back and watch Fiddler On The Roof every night, such was the delight of the whole thing.

Only my second musical theatre outing after Blood Brothers, it would seem that I might slowly be converted by the whole thing, having been slightly unconvinced previously. I was also coming to the story cold as well, having never seen the 1971 film with Topol.

Set in 1905, it tells the story of a Jewish family headed by Tevye (Paul Michael Glaser) and the matchmaking of his children and the eventual historic events to come.

As Tevye, Glaser is a sprightly masterpiece of comedy gold and knowing looks, often cleverly pinpointing members of the audience for his stares or skyward for the good Lord. He rules the roost of the show, but is surrounded by a cast of highly talented, and for us mere mortals, sickeningly skilled performers.

The cast of this challenging play has the enviable task of acting, dancing, singing and playing an assortment of musical instruments. The la…

National Theatre Connections - Tomorrow and A Letter To Lacey at Royal & Derngate (Underground and Royal)

I managed to return to Royal & Derngate on Friday for two further plays in the National Theatre Connections tour and it was really worth it for two very good, but very different plays.

The first was like some sort of ultra rude but very funny version of Grange Hill, following the last day of school, the prom and exam results day. Through very witty, realistic dialogue and superb performance from the young cast, it built some very real solid characters in its 45 minute show. The main cast was also ably assisted by a supporting troupe of young performers who provided the intro, and scene bridging with some nicely playful choreographed work.

Couple with the excellent script from Simon Vinnicombe and the excellent performers of the Samuel Whitbread Academy, this play was an absolute riot from start to finish.


The second very different play was on the hard hitting subject of domestic violence, but was presented with an appropriate level of humour as well. Far from trivialising it, this…

Review of No Way Out by Jean-Paul Sartre performed by The Masque Theatre at The Holy Sepulchre, Northampton

I found myself back at the Holy Sepulchre Church for the second time in a week for a performance of No Way Out performed by amateur dramatic company The Masque Theatre.

This was to be my first proper amateur dramatic viewing for as long as I could remember (ever maybe, other than school shows), so therefore it was an area much neglected by me. As the first arrival and with unreserved seating, I made my way to the front row after being beckoned in by a gentlemen, who would later become known to us as "The Waiter" in the main performance. This was a nice presentation touch which made me happy from the very beginning.
Now I am unfamiliar with Jean-Paul Sartre pretty much, but I was familiar with the famous quote "Hell is other people", so it was going to be interesting to see the origin of the piece.
The set was a simple three chairs (of varying types), a fireplace, a door and a bronze statue on a pedestal which worked well. There was also the interesting addition of …

National Theatre Connections - The Wardrobe and Heritage at Royal & Derngate (Royal and Underground)

The National Theatre of ten new plays for young people reached Northampton this week on its countrywide tour, and I was able on the first day to see two of them. Good fun they were too.

The first, The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft was probably a cleverer idea on paper than the success on stage. The idea was that it told the tale of various interludes through time of the very same wardrobe and was made up of small parts, some of which worked more successfully than others. It was perhaps actually on the part of the performers than some parts felt more alive. Particularly the boys convent section which was superbly played by the group, as well as an earlier part where a young Alan Carr literally stole the show with his upper class performance.
Another thing that jarred a little was the actual staging and use of the wardrobe. It was bizarrely big at times and seemed in one section to have another exit. Fair enough for freedom of the play, but if you are really going to restrict your play idea …