Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2017

Review of Sextet at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There is perhaps a certain inevitability that the amateurs of Northampton will provide a better play this year than Sextet, currently running at The Playhouse Theatre. However having said that, there might not be many on the stage that are as ambitiously optimistic of the skills of those local actors performing in it. There is much to trouble an actor here, with Michael Pertwee's piece (very much of its seventies period) challenging timing, prat falls, prop management and a navigation of a complex set (especially so on the small Playhouse stage).
The play itself as always with a character driven play, takes a while to get going. One by one we are introduced to the motley crew made up of family, business links and random people bumped into. Our six characters (yes, there is a clue in the title), are the Captain of the yacht, Roger (Barry Dougall), his (ex/current) wife Lisa (Tamsyn Payne), then his guests Denys (Jem Clack), his wife Valerie (April Pardoe), Philip (Simon Rye) and hi…

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

I think Invincible from the Original Theatre Company goes down as the show I have known the least about pre-show ever. I hadn't even read the blurb in the Royal & Derngate brochure. My tickets had been purchased simply for two reasons, it being a play (about something) in the Royal (where I have I believe seen every visiting play for the last three years). All I thought I knew is that is was a bit wacky and that it was about a flat share (the former was a little correct, the latter completely wrong). As it turned out, it was perhaps one of the best to come to with no knowledge, as it allowed it to surprise on many levels.

Torben Betts' play opens in a standard living room setting (a terribly simplistic but also perfect set from Victoria Spearing), with a couple warring over marriage, his mother and death. It is a sparky and fast paced opening, offering little glimpses hidden in the lines of how the story will eventually unfold. This exchange while seemingly serious, sets v…

Review of The Burlesque Show 2017 at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

There is still a feeling of outer body going on when I attend The Burlesque Show despite this now being my third time. A sort of, is this really the thing I want to be seeing? I mean burlesque, it's a bit of a weird and niche thing isn't it? Well yes it absolutely is in reality one of them things, and the one it isn't when you watch it is weird.

The Burlesque Show though, is actually quite poorly titled to be fair. I am not sure what else I would call it, but this is far from 100% burlesque action, this is good genuine old fashioned variety evening, wrapped with a little slightly risque burlesque and saucy humour. However, if you come thinking burlesque is all about kit off, I have seen more nudity in a refined dignified play or two, and certainly the humour has been much more coarse at a reputable comedy gig or two.

Last year I was very critical of the fact that the 2016 show had been so close to the 2015 version that to quote myself "the pot really does need stirrin…

Review of Sunny Afternoon at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

As I entered my fourth year of really regular theatre going, I wasn't really needing a reminder of why I went to the theatre from my first show of 2017. However if I had needed one, Sunny Afternoon would have provided that defibrillator shock. To put it brief and succinct, theatre rarely gets as buzzing and brilliant as this. That is the short review out of the way.

Those still here, I will elaborate. The signs were of course pretty good, a phenomenally successful West End run and a little Olivier Award in the bag. However awards don't always tell the tale, but with Sunny Afternoon they do. There is no question that this is one of the best shows I have seen, and if it isn't in my top five at the end of the year review, I shall look back on a very good year.

While often the music is relied on too much in these kind of musicals and the need for a coherent story to be told discarded, Joe Penhall's book (based on the original story by Ray Davies) is solid and entertaining …

Review of Robin Hood And The The Babes In The Wood at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

I generally steer clear of pantomimes in general, but have inherited a few people and groups that I feel the need and am generally happy to support through thick and thin. Hence following my trip to Duston Players earlier in December, I found myself back at the annual Looking Glass Theatre's pantomime at St Peter's Church a week or so back (this is a heavily delayed review).

Looking Glass do none showy traditional family pantos, there are no awkward moments here of the adult squirming over whether that joke was too near the knuckle for little Johnny sitting next to you. There are though always jokes for the grown-ups, but not in the adult nature, just occasionally newsworthy stuff, and this time among others we had the rather timely Baron Le Brexit as the baddie.

This is the third panto I have seen from Looking Glass and without criticism of the previous ones, this is the best. It's a more solid presentation and perhaps most importantly wields the best quartet of a cast.

T…