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Showing posts from September, 2014

Review of Sell-By-Date by Marbleglass Theatre. Returning to Northampton soon.

The excellent Sell-By-Date by Marbleglass Theatre returns to Northampton this Saturday and its original home of the Looking Glass Theatre. If you get the chance to see this, do so!


Below is my original review of the show as performed at the 2014 Flash Festival, Northampton:
"... the very dark, very funny and very powerful Sell By Date. From Marbleglass and featuring the talents of Marcus Churchill, Ashley Cook, Joseph Derrington and Sophie Murray, this was a gem. Setting the bar even higher for the week ahead.
Mixing music, dance, comedy, strong drama and in one particularly outstanding part, some very clever puppetry.
The performers in this group were particularly strong and I remember them well from their parts in Animal Farm (Animal Farm review). Whether playing the clown or deadly serious moments, they were at the top of their game. Even this early in their hopefully very successful careers.
The play itself was broke up into many parts, cleverly interchanging the aforementioned cl…

Review of One Man, Two Guvnors' at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

This year I have seen the chaotic feast that is The Play That Goes Wrong three times and its safe to say that I haven't seen anything funnier at the theatre this year (hence three times), however last night I saw the National Theatre's One Man, Two Guvnors' currently on tour. I shall say now that The Play That Goes Wrong is still the funniest play I have seen this year. However One Man, Two Guvnors' gave it quite a close call at times during the blistering two hours plus of high octane entertainment.

It is at first a curious mix of music, mirth and outright slapstick that unlike TPTGW, I didn't initially get. I was also having to deal sitting in the circle (a reasonable distance from the stage), with someone who was eating things that rustled and managing to drown quite a few words out. My annoyance level was quite high so I needed some light relief. Thankfully the rustles didn't last forever and once my hearing had been tuned out of them rustle sounds and I co…

Review of New Jersey Nights at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE PUBLIC REVIEWS.
Since its inception on Broadway in 2005 and subsequent tours across the world, the musical Jersey Boys has popularised the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons for a very new generation and refreshed it for the old. As an effect of this New Jersey Nights has been born.
Cynically this could be regarded as a cheap cash in for those revitalised new and old fans and when first entering the theatre the stage set could suggest that. Comprising of a bland makeshift bar set-up (backboards on wheels portraying the walls, a bar and to the right a table and chairs), it doesn't look particularly inviting. However as the four piece band take their places, initially behind the bar walls and a lone barman fiddles with the vintage radio for a signal, the stage soon becomes alive.
First the six dancers take to the stage dancing to a none Frankie Valli song and then the Four Seasons themselves take to the stage. Consisting of Damion Sca…

Review of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre, London

A play has to be doing something right if you go to see it three times, the third of which involves travelling to London to do so. Either its superb, or this viewer is a little weird. Fortunately we have the situation where both of those statements are correct.

The Play That Goes Wrong is nothing short of one of the funniest plays, indeed anything you could ever wish to see. Having seen it twice in Northampton in two days, the opportunity to see it in the big city and its new home (maybe for sometime to come?) at the Duchess Theatre was too much to miss.

With its new home in the capital came an added confidence from the show. If anything it felt more solid, funnier, and more polished. It certainly hadn't settled on its laurels of its huge touring success. There were a selection of added jokes, slightly bolder staging moments and a slightly increased interplay with the hysterical audience.

I have had the pleasure of seeing over 50 plays this year and there is no question that this h…

Review of The ELO Experience at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE PUBLIC REVIEWS.
Tribute groups and performers can be dangerous territory. For every quality one, you could fill the rest of your fingers and toes with those that, let’s say, are not of such quality. Therefore trepidation is always likely to be lurking when seeing any for the first time and to take on the Electric Light Orchestra could be considered an even riskier challenge.
During the seventies and into the eighties, Birmingham formed group the Electric Light Orchestra created through their distinctive style some of the most familiar hybrids of rock, pop and orchestral songs to this day. So for any tribute band to attempt to create such a well loved and unique group could be considered a challenge. Over the past seven years, the ELO Experience has made it their challenge. However with the rousing and superb opener of All Over The World the scene was set for a pristine and quality evening.
Andy Louis in the role of Jeff Lynne (all dark glasses a…

Review of Breeders at the St. James Theatre, London

It is fair to say that there are a good few moments of very surreal happenings in Ben Ockrent's new play about lesbians, brothers and sisters and babies. Whether the cast are wearing odd costumes, getting into antics with flour or maybe even more oddly singing Swedish language eighties classics. The last of which is used rather cleverly to develop the set, but to be honest while it is an interesting way of doing this. It is more funny peculiar than funny ha ha, with the possible exeption of Jemima Rooper's redition of the Bonnie Taylor classic Total Eclipse Of The Heart. This truly is a funny moment and one which the audience on the night went wild for.

The play tells the story of a lesbian couple and their desire to have a baby. The complication comes from one of the couple, Andrea's (Tamzin Outhwaite) desire to keep the genetics of her family, resulting in her request to her brother Jimmy (Nicholas Burns) for his sperm to impregnate her wife Caroline (Angela Griffin). Thr…

Review of Regeneration at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Regeneration, adapted for the stage by Nicholas Wright, forms the final and centrepiece of the Royal & Derngate's programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Based on Pat Barker's 1991 novel, it tells the story of several characters experiences in Craiglockhart Hospital following being immobilised for various reasons from the trenches. Among these are notable real-life characters such as the highly decorated war poet Siegfried Sassoon, his doctor Captain Rivers and Sassoon's fellow poet Wilfred Owen.

Of these three characters, Stephen Boxer as Rivers is by far the stronger performance, giving a sentimental and caring portrayal with more than a hint of humour in his delivery. As Sassoon and Owen, Tim Delap and Garmon Rhys respectively, they have less to do in their somewhat and surprising one dimensional characters on stage. They only really feel solid characters when they are together on stage, particularly in that first meeting in Sassoon's room.…