Wednesday, 9 September 2015

"School For Scandal"
Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Who would've thought that a play written in 1775 could be so entertaining? Well, believe me, it is and "Scandal" kicks off the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Theatre Royal. "School For Scandal" was the first play to be performed on the Nottingham Theatre Royal stage, 25 September 1865.

One thing I thought may be an issue was the language in which Richard Sheridan wrote this play all those years ago but The Royal Company, the theatre's community ensemble, made the script very easy to understand.

There are several sub plots running alongside the marital issues had by Sir Peter Teazle (Mik Horvath) and Lady Teazle (Victoria Murphy) which, once you start to notice the plots become easy to understand and follow, in the same way as a modern day soap opera can run several story-lines within the same episode,revisiting the action when needed. I won't give the sub-plots away because they have to be seen within the context of the play to be understood.

There's plenty of comedy and action in this promenade play,and it's all moved on swiftly and musically by the three clowns, MC and musicians. Taking the audience along with the actors to several parts of the theatre; parts where you wouldn't normally get to see, it made for a fascinating tour of the theatre as well as a rolling set of sorts. The players made sure that their audience were seated, acting as part time ushers, before continuing with the action and story, occasionally using the audience in part of the play.

One of the first thing that struck me were the brilliant costumes and even more brilliant wigs, constructed from modern magazines, but still looking like the wigs of the period. A great deal of hard work went into the imagery of the actors with the costumes, wigs and make up and all this added to the wonderful atmosphere.

The acting troupe of twenty were excellent, and much as I'd like to single out separate actors, I'm not going to because as a throng of actors they were like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece fitted in and the whole would be incomplete without the other pieces.

Also loved the musicians who played all the way through the promenading, entertaining us as we moved from one part of the theatre to the next. The design of the piece by the Nottingham Trent University students successfully blended the period of the play with a modern feel. Throw in a soundtrack from Tom Jones, Deborah Harry and Iggy Pop among others and the whole experience is a very different, but so enjoyable piece of theatre.

"School For Scandal" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 12 September 2015, and it's be a scandal if you let this one slip by!

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