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Showing posts from February, 2017

Review of Journey's End by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

While you often feel you should be sitting admiring R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End, rather than enjoying it, you simply can't help it at times. For so much of the play, especially in the first half, it is rife with so much humour that you find yourself laughing at this group of men, who despite potentially being moments from death, are living life through companionship and laughter. Most of the comedy rather interestingly comes from the trials of food and drink and the often ineffectiveness of Mason the cook (Kevin Pinks).

Set in the trenches in early 1918, Sherriff's play centres around a company of men commanded by Stanhope (Tristan Smith) and the gradual build-up to the battle at St. Quentin. It is a stark believable world, which comes as no surprise as the writer saw service himself in the East Surrey Regiment.

As is often the case with Masque Theatre productions, this has a very strong cast. Tristan Smith is a cold, quietly brooding Stanhope, at times seemingly mor…

Review of Sorry I Killed Your Cat at The Courtyard Theatre, London

I have seen a lot of talent pass through the University of Northampton BA Actors course over the three years that I have now followed them and have happily followed their individual striving to make it in the packed world of theatre beyond training. It is especially lovely personally to be remembered, like I was by Lost Fragments Productions for having been there in their early days and be invited three years later to see four of those performers take to a London stage.

Sorry I Killed Your Cat is written by and stars one of those students, Tré Curran, and also stars graduates from Northampton, Liam Harvey, Katie Hartshorne and Annie Jones. It is a farcical in the extreme take on the classic dinner party scenario. Take Abigail's Party perhaps and bring it into the modern age and add what is a little bit of more fruity adult themes and you have this plays basic premise.

The characters are all relatively well defined and to a certain extent, ones with solid but heavy stereotypes. You …

Review of The Twits at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

I have been a fan of the macabre world of Roald Dahl for as long as I can remember reading, progressing through his world of enormous crocodiles, onto my most favourites, Danny the Champion of the World and Charlie and his two epic adventures with Willy Wonka. I even then became a grown-up reader of Dahl, where I found myself absorbed into his Tales of the Unexpected. He is without doubt a genius writer, but could those worlds translate onto the stage successfully? Matilda's success says so, as does the huge success of the Chocolate Factory production. At the helm of this production of The Twits (from the Curve Leicester) is the dynamic and so far for myself, utterly brilliant work of director Max Webster.

His pedigree of bringing challenging worlds to the stage was dealt with, with total ease in 2015 when the world of Dr Seuess' The Lorax brought colour, joy and musical extravagance to the stage of The Old Vic, and The Twits offers in places much of the same. However the big …

Skegvegas 2017 incorporating Butlins Absolute 80s, Boston parkrun and Skegness

They say that whatever happens in Skegvegas, stays in Skegvegas. However that depends on if some inconsiderate blogger then chooses to reveal all online. Fortunately for those with me and at Skegvegas for the Butlins Absolute 80s Weekend between Friday 3rd and Monday 6th February 2017, I am not such a blogger and those activities remain in Skegvegas. Well most of them.

For those that are regulars to my blogs, it is safe to say that this will be a little different from what I usually write. Skegvegas rarely represented my usual theatre world experience, although you could say it was very much a theatre of life.

Day One

Arrivals
We were the first of our group to arrive and despite the concerns of potential ID checks and alcohol bottle counting, they was little issue to be had. Having followed the green line to the checking area, this was to be really very swift and pain free experience. Friendly staff at the checkpoint were to lay
down pretty much everything that was going to occur staff …

Review of Henceforward... at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Arriving at a theatre to see a play having slept four and a half hours in the previous 35 is perhaps not the best way to get the full effect of a production. However once I am in a theatre seat, most of the time I become refreshed and well awake, and this touring production of Alan Ayckbourn's Henceforward... certainly kept me with it.

Henceforward... was first performed 30 years ago and was Ayckbourn's first comedy to contain science fiction elements. It is a curious mix of a world that we are not quite at yet, with elements of Channel 4 show Humans in its personal NAN 300F, a mostly unseen world of gang rule outside where law has become tribal, and then a fascinating mention of a cheque of all things, as if they will exist in the future! It is like all takes of a future world, sometimes amusingly wrong.
It is also classic Ayckbourn, and also like Season's Greetings which I most recently saw, quite a slow burner, with the first half creating the world and the characters be…