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Showing posts from July, 2015

Review of Macbeth by William Shakespeare performed by The Masque Theatre at Abington Park, Northampton

I have never made it a secret of my dislike of Mr Shakespeare's work. It's not so much that I hate the stories or the characters he creates, its just that my ears fail completely to attune to his language and often while watching performances, more than any other play I lean towards the production and visual aspect of the show.

Therefore is was once again that during my latest Shakespeare, I watched costumes, sets, lighting and some most glorious make-up work going on. Not to say that I didn't see the actors superb work, there bodies and facial expressions helping me beyond the troublesome language and managing to take me into the story. It helped this time that I was coming at Macbeth as the first of the bards plays that I was seeing for a second time live, having seen the spectacular (and highly physical) feast that the University Of Northampton provided last year (review here). I therefore had a little more knowledge of the tale than I normally would. Here the Masque pr…

A second take on No Way Back by Frantic Assembly at the The Core, Corby

I wrote my first review of No Way Back on site in the bar at the Core Theatre and it was a relatively rushed affair. This show however deserved better (or as better as I am able to write anyway). Therefore I now write again a few days after seeing the show twice, reflecting on its contents in a greater way. As it is a show of personal decisions and deep thoughts, this is perhaps appropriate. Without going into too much detail, I have to say that some of the personal material and thoughts portrayed in the stories told within this play resonated deeply with me at this time. Mid life crisis or not, there is indeed as the title tells us No Way Back.

Through a series of inter-weaved scenes, stories are told of dating issues, birth of children, an accident prone life and body image thoughts. For the audience at the Core, I doubt that there was anyone that could not relate in some way to the tales told. For those that said not, they were probably kidding themselves. This was indeed the stren…

Review of No Way Back by Frantic Assembly at the The Core, Corby

Having worn out the seats at Royal & Derngate the perfect opportunity arose to experience the little brother at Corby. The Core is situated in the impressive Corby Cube and offers a mix of theatre, cinema and the dynamic space known as the Lab. It is, I have now found out, a wonderfully gorgeous modern theatre. Stylish stage, comfortable seating (the front row I sat in had interestingly low seats for me but huge leg room) and wonderfully cool.

The performance I had made a ninety minute bus ride for was No Way Back, a Frantic Assembly/Made In Corby production that utilised local non professional talent. Bringing personal stories from the community performers, Frantic created a unique physical production that anyone who has seen A Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time might be familiar.

Despite using what were effectively members of the public there was no let up in the performances they were given to do. There were two performers I was familiar with ahead of seeing the show…

Review of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

A few months ago I got myself embroiled in a little verbal fracas (no cold meat involved) on Twitter with those that I now call my Irish friends. It concerned their production of Jesus Christ Superstar (details here) and in my opinion being slightly below par. They got quite uppity about my criticism and even suggested the likes of me could effect its success. The tour continues merrily despite me and its actually at Milton Keynes Theatre next week. I suggest you save your money. Oops naughty me.

However this convoluted intro brings me to the glorious stage school production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor [sic] Dreamcoat at Looking Glass Theatre. In the absence of knowing whether this is a musical or a rock opera (sorry another in joke), I shall just call it an "absolute joy" instead.

What this lacked in production values and budget over JCS it made up in on in earnest joy, enthusiasm and a sheer thrill of performance over making money. I mentioned to local theatre le…

Review of Immune by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The cover note for the script of Oladipo Agboluaje's Immune describes it as "a challenging science fiction play with a large cast", and the word challenging in this case is not a lie. This is a fast paced, multi-cast changing script which leaves little room for error for its young cast in the performance. If the script isn't enough to handle for the young performers, director Christopher Elmer-Gorry and designer Carl Davies have made the situation even more complex for the actors with the set and stage work. Having to manhandle great panels on wheels and a huge cube, which also splits in two occasionally, during scene changes requires skill, coordination and cooperation of a high level.

As if all this is not enough, the actual story is epic enough for the relatively small stage of the Royal. Attempting to form an apocalyptic world (albeit only happening in Plymouth) offers challenges in itself, but Agboluaje's script does that in a sort of apocalypse in the teacu…

Review of Feast Of Fools Storytelling #4 - Open Mic Night at the NN Cafe, Northampton

So the temperature was somewhere beyond thirty on what was finally recorded as the hottest July day on record and I chose to sit on a leather sofa. Sticky yes, but conveniently close to the window for the meagre breeze that drifted about.

My location of course was the NN Cafe and my appointment was with the fourth Feast Of Fools Storytelling event. On this hot night it was the second of the Open Mic evenings where beginners could take to the stage and tell their tales. On this evening there were two debutantes and a collection of slightly more skilled, however all were shackled (slightly) by the ten minute rule.

Our host and debut as such was whom I shall always call the teddy bear lady, Sue Martin, who following a little musical intro from Richard York on his Greek Lyre (assured not political), gave her own little tale before welcoming Stephen Ferneyhough to the stage. Mr Ferneyhough gave us a witty little tale of his encounter with the somewhat not in his style McDonald's but wi…