Tuesday, 29 October 2013

CHIN CHIN Nottingham Theatre Royal until Friday 1 November 2013

Nottingham Theatre Royal until Friday 1 November 2013

Starring Felicity Kendall and Simon Callow, this is a lovely gentle comedy, with just a few profanities thrown in, but only in the second act (I didn't realise they swore in the 50's where this comedy was set).

Pamela and Cesareo (Kendall and Callow respectively), are thrown together due to the infidelity of their partners, and initially meet at an outdoor Parisian cafe where they try and work out what they need to do to get their husband and wife back. With the help of sumptuous amounts of alcohol consumed initially by Cesareo, and then Pamela, they decide that this plan wasn't worth it and would move in together, along with Pamela's son, Bobby, who winds up being our two main character's meal ticket back to Cesareo's homeland of Italy.

There's lots of laughs along the way and, although there were other actors on stage to link the different scenes together, Felicity and Simon showed why they are actors at the top of their league, Simon even smoothly dealing with one of those prop doors that just wouldn't stay shut with true professionalism.

The scenery was changed and moved around seamlessly (bar the troublesome door section), and apart from some backstage noise occasionally, the acoustic element of the comedy was spot on and you could hear every word which always helps when a gag line is delivered.

Coming in at just under two hours, including the intermission, it's nicely timed so that you don't get bored with the minimalist storyline.

If you were wondering where the title of the comedy came from, as I was, it's from the many salutations made by the two characters before taking a drink or several.

Well worth a view even if it's just to see two seasoned professionals in their native environment, and don't they both look good on their combined 131 years of age, and the elder of the pair looked very sexy in her trenchcoat!!

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE by The Beeston Musical Theatre Group

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE by The Beeston Musical Theatre Group

The Chatsworth Arts Theatre until Saturday 2 November 2013

Written by Gilbert & Sullivan, this is probably the most popular of their comedy operettas and the BMTG draw out every laugh from the script. Now if you think Gilbert & Sullivan are a tad old fashioned, well how wrong you are because there have been a few subtle updates to the classic musical comedy, but not at the risk of detracting from it.

The two lead roles Mabel (Beth Yearsley) and Frederic (Sam Barson) are perfectly cast with two of the strongest voices I've heard in amateur theatre. I've heard Sam sing before but his voice has really expanded to singing opera and Beth's got a lovely clear quality to her voice with great control,and let's face it with the role of Mabel, she needed it for the vocal acrobatics required.

There are no weak links in the rest of the cast either and perform as a theatre group should do, as a group of one. No chinks in this armour!

A special mention should also be given to Martin Holtom who played Major General Stanley and had the tongue twister of a song "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General" off word perfect.

It was nice to see a live musical troupe providing the music, under the musical direction of Morris Fisher. And they didn't drown out the vocals either, so a pat on the back for getting the sound mix spot on.

A simple but effective set with cinematic screen as the backdrop transported you from pirate ship to Major General's Chapel completed the very enjoyable musical comedy operetta, ably directed and choreographed by Craig Butterworth.

Another big success for The Beeston Musical Theatre Group.