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Showing posts from September, 2015

Review of Hairspray at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Having clocked up fifteen musicals since my first just eighteen months ago I thought I had become used to their shear exuberance at times, but I knew I had to be prepared for Hairspray as having seen the Travolta film version, this I realised was going to be off the campometre. I wasn't quite prepared as a cascade of bright colours, over the top performances and madness ensued.

What kept it working for me though as someone who prefers his plays to his sing and dancers was the actual tough narrative behind the big characters. Hairspray in its own unique way tells a very powerful story of prejudice and racial tension of the early sixties. A place where whites and blacks didn't mix on television (the latter had their so-called Negro day once a month) and that the place for the slightly increased in body substance was doing the laundry and certainly not on the TV in peoples living rooms. So in huge, no ginormous brush strokes Hairspray tells a strong tale behind the frilly dresses…

Review of Bazaar And Rummage by Sue Townsend at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

In my relatively brief theatre life I like often to try to spot tidbits of information with any new plays that I am seeing. Most are generally dull, maybe a writer I have or haven't seen before or an actor reappearing. Bazaar And Rummage though provides one of the more vaguely interesting ones in that it was first performed in 1982 in the compact 90 seater Royal Court Upstairs, which just so happens to be the same place I saw my very first London play, Rainbow Kiss in 2006. Well that is interesting to me anyway...

The writer of Bazaar And Rummage, Sue Townsend, is someone I very much grew up reading via her classic Adrian Mole diaries. However despite loving them so much, rather oddly I have never seen or read anything else from her career as a writer. Bazaar And Rummage (Townsend's fifth play) is about a group ("You can't call them a group. They've never met!) of agoraphobics who attempt to recover through holding as the title suggests a bazaar and rummage sale. …

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

Last year I attended The ELO on courtesy reviewing tickets for an official job for The Public Reviews website. Due to this I had to make a somewhat professional account of the show. I attended the show again yesterday as a paying guest and I write for my own personal blog, so expect frivolous.


In my "official" review last year (here) I made no mention of the fact that I was a huge ELO fan long before I found myself seeing the simply superb ELO Experience. This year I was once again joined by my companion of last year as well as a couple of pensioners, including a seventy-nine year old teenager and ELO superfan. It was all to make a most perfect night as once again the ELO Experience, led by our Jeff Lynne, a.k.a Andy Louis provided perfect representations of those classic tunes.

In a more relaxed state with no pressing need to make mental notes for review, I felt the whole experience an even more joyful affair. This is what truly comes across from the ELO Experience. On that…

Review of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

As the house lights came up at the interval of my viewing of Brave New World, an older chap in the row behind me quite audibly said to his theatre companion "that was rubbbish". I could at that moment only assume that he was wearing one of those rather stylish visual goggles that the cast wore during the show to view something else entirely as "rubbish" was far from my thoughts.

It could of course be that he just didn't get it as science fiction might not be his thing. This is one of those impressive things with the constantly inventive Made In Northampton series, it boldly tries everything and maybe if you, like this chap come to all of them, they are not always going to work for you.

Adapted as a new commission by Dawn King from Aldous Huxley's 1931 novel, Brave New World is the neglected compatriot of George Orwell's 1984. It is however a much different affair in substance, relating to genetically created humanity and the socially controlling Soma drug…

Review of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

After over a month away from the theatre I was keen to get back to my seat in the stalls for the new season at Royal & Derngate. Also what better than the sixty plus year running The Mousetrap by crime superstar Agatha Christie (I am a fan)? This was surely the most perfect way to begin this new run towards the winter months? Alas it was not.

March this year on this blog, I very dared write a rather critical review (for me) of Jesus Christ Superstar. At the time I was wary of writing it, as I was just a relative newcomer to this theatre lark and felt that perhaps it wasn't quite my place to be too critical. I wrote it anyway and little me got whacked on Twitter by a group involved in that production (details here) and by that process they created a monster. I settled on the fact that now I had every right as a paying audience member to call a spade a spade. Fortunately until The Mousetrap, I hadn't needed to be very critical.

The Mousetrap is indeed typical Agatha Christie…