Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas with Zak Scott and Friends
All Saints Church, Sawley.

Having a church as a venue is going to create a special atmosphere for any performance, and that was true for this presentation of Christmas songs and songs from musical theatre. There was a certain ambience around, especially with the Christmas carols "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", O Come All ye Faithful" and "O Little Town Of Bethlehem", which the audience were asked to sing as well.

Zak's nerves showed at the start, but come on, let's face it, you're in the lion's den where you can see the whites of their eyes, up close and personal; far removed from his natural habitat of the theatre stage where the spotlights hide the audience and their eyes. It's a brave man (and woman) who performs that close to their audience, and after the initial nerves, Zak just got on with the matter in hand. I think it may also have been nerves that made him sing through the instrumental break  of "Winter Wonderland" as well.

That said, he then went on to perform some of his festive favourites, including an absolutely beautiful stripped back version of "Silent Night", one of my favourite Christmas songs, and some lesser known musical theatre songs, again several of my favourites like "Corner Of The Sky" from "Pippin" and two from one of my favourite musical theatre song-smiths, Jason Robert-Brown. "It's Hard To Speak My Heart" and a duet of "All the wasted Time" with Emily Gent, both from the musical "Parade".

Joining Zak were the aforementioned Emily, who did an amazingly good version of "O Holy Night". No vocal acrobatics you hear from the likes of Ms Carey and the like, Emily sung it as it should be sung, beautifully and heartfelt, giving you that shiver down your spine, especially in the surroundings of the church. Emily also treated us to a gorgeous version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Memory" from "Cats".

Tayla Evans was the second of his singing guests and Tayla gave us a song that I'd not heard before in "May It Be" from "Fellowship Of the Ring", which I will be searching out as it's a lovely song, sung with real tenderness. Tayla also introduced me, and I'm sure many others to another new song called "Taylor the Latte  Boy", An education for me with Tayla's choices. She also did a beautiful job of "Once In Royal David's City".

Zak and friends were accompanied on keyboards by Leon Wade who also gave us an instrumental version of "The Angel Gabriel" as well Erewash Sound presenter, David Allen on the church organ for the ensemble carols.

The purpose of the evening was also to raise funds for The Caanan Trust in Long Eaton who help homeless people on the street. A representative of the charity told us what the charity does, so I hope that the night provided a great deal of monetary help for such a wonderful cause.

A lovely laid back evening of seasonal entertainment presented by three very talented and warm young people who deserve all the recognition they can get for being selfless and thinking of others.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

"Les Miserables"
Bilborough College

The title of the musical may translate as The Miserable Ones but this production will leave you far from feeling miserable.

There's no scenery, which for some versions of the musical may seem a no-no but I didn't even notice that once it started. What there is though is a clever barricade on wheels which, simple as it sounds , was very clever and effective for many reasons.

Some may also not have that high expectations of the piece as it, and I quote from another audience member, "it's only students, so you shouldn't expect too much". I think she was forced to eat her words by the end because the standard of this show is stupendously good, in fact one of the best I've seen at amateur theatre level.

The main character is Jean Valjean who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread and the opening scenes see him getting his release from Javert, the Chief Of Police, or cop in other words. Throughout the musical their paths cross several times, for those who don't know the story. Valjean is taken in by a priest who he robs from, is caught, but then the priest backs Valjean's story and gives him even more silver to sell.

Set in the 19th Century, Valjean goes on to do better things and becomes a pillar of the community and ends up fighting in the Revolutionary period in France where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.

Along the way he saves a young factory worker, Fantine, from prison, who then dies and on her death bed, Valjean promises to bring up her daughter, Cosette, so he "buys" her from the smarmy and nasty Thenardiers. Valjean also turns hero again by setting Javert free from his captors and saving Marius's life. Valjean sees Marius as the son he never had, who also falls in love with Cosette.

This is an incredibly talented young cast headed by Jacob Seelochan as Valjean. Jacob has a voice that is strong, powerful but tender when the song calls for it. He performs every song as a mini piece of drama and wrings every bit of emotion from them. He gets you to feel the pain and hurt the character is going through, especially in songs like "Bring Him Home". i knew as soon as I saw Jacob's name on the cast list that this production would be of a high standard, due to past roles and productions that I have seen him in.

But the rest of the cast were just as good as their leading man. Javert was played brilliantly by Kofi Dennis, again another really good voice and another one who brings out the character of the role he plays, making you believe the character. he did a wonderful version of "Stars" to close act one.

Fantine  was played by Anna Unwin. Wow! what an emotive actor she is. Her character was pushed through the mill and back again and Anna drags that emotion out making you feel drained to watch. The scene where she dies in Valjean's arms of consumption is spell-binding.Her version of "I Dreamed A Dream" was magical.

Cosette was played by Olivia Jones (younger Cosette) and Lizzy Ives. A clever scene when she goes from younger to older which was simple but again really effective. Again top class voices.

Deanna Ward played Eponine, the daughter of the Thenardiers who fell for Marius and helped him get a message to Cosette, but died by doing this. Stunning role.

Peter Cable played the Bishop who forgave Valjean for stealing from him as well as playing Enjolras, the leader of the student revolutionaries. Strong acting abilities and a voice to match.

The Thenardiers are the comic pairing of the musical and they were well cast in Jasper Cook and Emily Horner. Smarmy, sleazy with just a bit of nasty thrown in. After all they sold off Cosette and robbed from the dead. The pair got the characters of the Thenardiers just about right here and I loved their main musical number "Master Of the House".

And finally Gavroche, played by Joey Gaten. Gavroche is the street urchin who knows everyone but ended up being shot on the barricade trying to retrieve ammunition from the fallen soldiers.

Great cast and great production team with Sharon Macinnes as producer and Jacob Seelochan as director. Choreography by Emma Knight and a wonderfully imaginative set design by Joe Clarke. The lighting was by Hannah Cooper and Jonathan Banks and this also added to the feel of the show.

The orchestra, as always at Bilborough College, provided a brilliant sound who didn't drown the actors and quite rightly deserved their round of applause at the end.

Talking of round, this is the first time that I have seen Bilborough Drama do a production "in the round" and this worked really well as the actors drew you into their world. Another inspirational directorial decision.

This has to be the best production I've seen at Bilborough College, but I can remember saying that after last year's show as well.An amazing amount of hard work has gone into this production in a relatively short space of time, but has a sheen and a gloss splashed all over it.

"Les Miserables" is on at Bilborough College up to Thursday 17 December 2015.

Monday, 14 December 2015

"Present Laughter" by Noel Coward.
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre

The plot follows a few days in the life of the successful and self-obsessed light comedy actor Garry Essendine as he prepares to travel for a touring commitment in Africa. Amid a series of events bordering on farce, Garry has to deal with women who want to seduce him, placate both his long-suffering secretary and his estranged wife, cope with a crazed young playwright, and overcome his impending mid-life crisis (since he has recently turned forty). 

Pronounced "present" as in a gift, which this play surely is, it's the Lace Market's alternative to Christmas fare, which, although I love panto, ans there are three excellent pantos in Nottingham this year, it's always nice to have that alternative.

The set is classic 1930's which I loved, as are the costumes; more so for the women and another success for the in house team of Barry Holland and Doreen Hunt. It's also the little things like the props as well as the furniture which gives this play a sense and a feel of the era. I'm sure that Kathy Bobkowska who sourced the props had her work cut out getting that certain feel of the era just about there.

A classy cast brought to life the wonderful comic edge of Coward with the main character, Garry Essendine, which was based on Coward himself, was portrayed by John Parker. And you know I saw less Rigsby and more Coward with John's performance. He pitched the flamboyant character just about right which showed when he went to the over-acting sections, which is supposed to be done, this wasn't a criticism for those of you who don't know the play. The arrogance and vanity of Essendine was marvellously brought out by John.

A fairly large cast for the Lace Market but every character had their own style  From the young fan, Daphne Stillington (Lauren Whitter), the wonderfully understated maid Miss Erikson (Barbara Fisher), couldn't quite place the accent though. The manservant Fred (Paul Johnson) who was well aware of what was going on behind those closed doors, The secretary who also had seen it all before and seemed to double as his P.A. and press officer, Monica (Carol Parkinson), at times Monica seemed to be swimming against the tide there just trying to keep track of Essendine's conquests. All of those lost latch keys!!

Then there was the ex, Liz Essendine (Sarah Taylor), who looked quite amused at the goings on, and well she might as well.The over excitable Roland Maule (Chris Sims), a playwright who Garry has rashly agreed to critique. Henry (Gareth Morris) who is just one of the characters who in the past has confided secrets to Garry is one of the victims of Garry's revelation outspilling. Oh how the secrets are revealed thick and fast.

And there's more! Morris Dixon (Tom Orton) I loved this ever so slightly camp persona with his own brand of over the top. Another who has secrets unearthed in Garry's unburdoning.  Joanna (Chloe Senior) who is another who we find donning Garry's grey pyjamas after losing her latch keys and, surprise surprise she also has secrets to be revealed. And just when you think there can't be any more twists, there comes a twist heralded by the arrival of Lady Saltburn (Shellagh Littlewood) with her niece.... and I'll leave that surprise for you to work out!

A play with many giggles sewn into the fabric, performed by a fun and entertaining cast, and just right for a bit of panto alternative theatre. Oh and if you're a fan of the musical offerings of Coward, get in the theatre in plenty of time as the incidental music at the start and the interval, as well as the end is all Coward, Again showing what a wonderful witty wordsmith the man was.

"Present Laughter" can be seen at The Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 19 December 2015.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Josh Kemp's Christmas Get Together.
Dagfa House School, Beeston.

Josh Kemp presents a whole lot of talented people to entertain with some brilliantly atmospheric songs could be the longer alternative title to the evening. Josh is the perfect host for these sort of nights. He laid on free drinks and mince pies and even lit the tea light candles to create just the perfect Christmassy relaxed vibe.

There was a serious side to the night as it highlighted the plight of the homeless and all monies raised went to Framework who support the homeless. A great cause and a wonderful evening of amazing music and talent.

Josh, as well as playing master of ceremonies and arranging the music, provided keyboard support, played guitar and sung a few of the songs, including his latest song "Leap Of Faith", also showcased generously his students, family and friends.Tom,Graham, Meg,Chloe,Erin, Adam,Mitch, Becky, Martin and several others.

The evening started off with a song from the musical "The Full Monty" called "Scrap", just to bring a slight uneasiness to the opening. The theme of the evening was "home" and the different aspects of home, or not having a place to call home, the longing for home and finding out where home is.

I apologise for not giving a name check to everyone in the company, mainly because I don't, as yet, know your names, but what a united class act presented to the eager audience.

Josh's brother, Tom Hopcroft, sang lead on several songs including "Only Home I Know" from the musical "Shenandoah", "Make Them Hear You" from "Ragtime" as well as a beautiful version of John Lennon'a "Imagine". Tom's voice is absolutely perfect for musical theatre, strong, powerful and controlled.

Graham Buchanan performed beautifully "Someone To fall Back On", written by one of my favourite musical composers, Jason Robert Brown, followed by a newcomer, Meg with the song "People Live Here", a song that I'd never heard before but with wonderful lyrics.

That's the great thing for me, coming to one of Josh's musical get togethers, as I get an education in music that I take away with me to discover back at home. An introduction into little gems that lie undiscovered by most, but unearthed by Josh.

There were songs from musical theatre like his duet with sister Chloe on "For Good" from "Wicked', Adam Guest paying tribute to Josh's songwriting prowess as Adam sung one of my favourite Josh Kemp's songs, "Coming Home To You". There was also a wonderfully touching version of Josh Groban's "To Where You Are" which sent the shivers down your back, sung by George. Sorry I don't know your surname George, but you have an incredibly emotive voice.

There were new compositions written by Josh in the form of "Grimm Duet", sang by Tom and sister Chloe and the highlight, nay one of many highlights, was "A Winter Lullaby", written and arranged by Josh and sung by the entire ensemble. It created just the most incredible Christmas mood over the audience. Truly magical.

Mix in these with some classic Christmas numbers like "Carol Of The Bells" and a stripped back "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" sang with just guitar and backing singers by Cibele, and topped off with an apt "Home" made famous by Michael Buble.

All in all an amazing night of classy songs for a wonderful cause presented by some incredible talented people who gave their time for free.

It's a tribute to what a well respected man Josh is when you see members of several theatre groups and musical societies come to support his causes, as was the case tonight.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside, Nottingham.

Quite a few people have asked why I love the theatre so much and I start to enthuse that the theatre is a magical place that can take you places that you can only imagine. 

This is the case with "Neverland". From the very start to the end the magic is there and is all around you. from disappearing apples to the magical theatrical technology which takes you from a magical island with mermaids to the deck of Captain Hook's ship. It's like being a kid again and you are drawn into a wonderful world of make believe, or maybe it isn't!

There's a new and modern twist to the story which starts with Wendy going down to London to visit her dad, who is separated from Wendy's mother, his wife. he works in a care home looking after wayward kids and, on the day that he should be looking after Wendy, one of the kids breaks out, robs a shop and escapes. well you can guess who that character might be in the story!

The story remains true to the original Barrie classic but brings it up to date to relate to a modern audience, but while modernising the story it also manages to keep the original magic that millions have people have fell in love with.

Peter is played by Andrew Linnie as a hoodie wearing "bad boy" who is responsible for Wendy disobeying her father and being led astray, but only for a short while. He's instantly likeable with his cheekiness, just right for Peter Pan's character. Now as this is a musical you have to have someone who can not only act but sing, well it does help, and Andrew keeps his lovely Irish twang in with the songs. I don't know if it's because Andrew is Irish that he makes this fairy story even more believable.

Wendy, the initially naive daughter of Mr darling, is played by Bethan Nash. Another new name to me but, again, instantly likeable and has a good strong voice on her as well, especially in the musical numbers.

Mr Darling and Captain Hook are played by Robin Simpson. It's description of Mr Darling as grumpy, for me, couldn't have been farther away from the truth with Robin's portrayal, because he made the father figure fun and in touch with his younger self; quite unlike other portrayals seen in the past, and I think this works well as an updated version.

His Captain Hook was also fun and not as scary as I've seen some panto-esque versions of the baddie and Peter Pan rival. He gave enough kudos to the part to make him on the evil side but also gave him a more comical side that wouldn't frighten the younger members of the audience. It's a fine line sometimes and I thing Robin's version was done really well.

The musical pieces were all original, and there's plenty of catchy tunes here as well, which I was quite surprised with. Written and composed by Julian Butler, I loved the song about being a kid and not growing up, sung by Mr Darling and Wendy near the start. But all the songs were good anyway.

The technical effects in the theatre nowadays really push the boundaries and combined with the wonderful lighting, Richard Statham was a wizard as the lighting designer with Barrett Hodgson in charge of the magical digital design.

The set was simple but with the technical work on show, that's all it needed to be because the transformations were created through technical know how of Mr Statham.

Directed by Martin Berry who is renowned for his brilliance in every thing he touches, and this is no different. You almost forget you're in a theatre because , through the clever direction of the work, you are swept up and took on the journey, and then returned to your seat, all in one piece. At just under an hour in total, this is just one of the most magical pieces of theatre around at the moment. Just long enough to keep the little kids attention, as well as the bigger kids like me spellbound.

"Neverland " is on at the Djanogly Theatre at Lakeside on the Nottingham University campus until 31 December 2015. Take your kids and grand-kids, and granddads and grandmas along to see this as a special Christmas treat.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Starring the Grand Dame of panto, Christopher Biggins and ex Blue member Simon Webbe and Ben Nickless this show is big, bright reflects every penny that has been spent on producing this year's Theatre Royal panto in Nottingham.

There's a giant snake which hovers menacingly over the audience, flying carpets which zoom over our heads bearing Simon Webbe as Aladdin, who makes his entrance in a rather clever and magical way, which I won't tell you how, but I was impressed by that part of the show.

There are sumptious sets which bring the feel of the Orient to life and some flashy costumes, especially for Christopher Biggins and Aladdin. The music tracks and orchestra, for me , was just a tad loud as it sometimes covered up the singing, and there were some good singers here.

Simon Webbe (Aladdin) actually carried off the role quite well, and I say that because, with not being an actor and known for his vocal abilities with the band Blue and his solo work, he brought the cheeky and fun element of Aladdin out. His voice suited the soul songs and he looked comfortable with the choreography.

Christopher Biggins (Widow Twankey) showed why he is one of the best dames in panto at the moment. What I found just slightly off putting though was laughing at the delivered jokes by those telling them. I'm sorry it didn't come across as naturally funny if you laugh at the jokes you're telling. Maybe I've seen too many pantos, I don't know, but taking nothing away from Chris's ability to perform a great panto role. Where Chris did excel over everything else was the section where the kids are brought up on stage as he has years of this sort of ad-libbing experience and was naturally funny.

Ben Nickless (Wishee Washee), was again as funny as ever with his clever impressions of TV celebrities like Alan Carr, Keith Lemon and a slightly dated Louis Spence, but again some of the "ad-libbed" and "off the cuff" sections just seemed a little too rehearsed. Maybe not though to a first time audience.

Abanazar was a class act and relished the "boos" and "hisses" from the enthusiastic audience. James Barron, who played the evil Abanazar, was in fact one of my favourites in this panto. He also has a really strong voice shown to great effect on the opening number of Act Two.

Princess Jasmine was played by Emile Du Leslay and a lovely bit of eye-candy for us to blokes to look at. She also has a pretty good voice herself.

Paul Gabriel played Emporer Ming. No stranger to the Theatre Royal panto stage as he has appeared here several times in the past.

Seheherazade, the spirit of the magical ring, is played by another gorgeous lady, Kimberley Blake and once more a lovely easy on the ear singing voice.

An ensemble of very capable dancers and singers beef up the background to the main characters well and compliment the young performers (The Theatre Royal Babes).

There are many more plusses than negatives here with some good choreography by Paul Robinson and lighting design by Matt Clutterham, creating an exciting visual atmosphere to the show. Directed by Ken Alexander, who in fact can almost be classed as a local lad, being brought up in Leicester, albeit being born in Glasgow.

An enjoyable show that will bring the money rolling in with the big names headlining, but are big names a guarantee for a great panto? For me this was above standard panto fare. Enjoyable, definitely, and I didn't leave the theatre without being entertained but maybe I was expecting just a wee bit more. Either way it's another success to help celebrate the theatre's 150th Birthday.

"Aladdin" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Sunday 10 January 2016.
"Cinderella" by The People's Theatre Company.
Nottingham Arts Theatre.

Written and directed by the award winning Amanda Hall there's just one word that comes to mind after seeing this show. "Perfect".

Amanda has an amazingly talented production team with Tom Mowatt designing the lighting, Amy Rogers-Gee in charge of choreography as well as stage managing the show, Ray McLeod handling the music and Mike Pearson as producer. A powerhouse of a crew.

From start to end this show was slick, pacey and professional and I can't put my finger on what is different this year, or what Amanda has done but she has yet again raised that panto bar again. And I thought it would be difficult to top last year's, but she did.

Cinderella, in the performance I saw was played by the lovely Lauren Stephenson, in other performances Cinders is played by the equally lovely Eva Sheppard. Lauren has a beautiful voice and she is so believable in her scenes with Buttons and Prince Charming.

Buttons, played by Sean Goodwin, straight away won over the female sector of the audience with his good looks and cheeky disposition. Ever smiling with a twinkle in his eye, he also showed off a voice that could match any of the boy bands around, especially with the boy band songs that were sprinkled throughout the show. Buttons' role was also to chat to the kids who were brought up on stage and he carried this role really well. Not the easiest of jobs for an actor as you never know what will happen and it's not scripted, but Sean managed this really well.

The lovely Laura Thurman played the Fairy Godmother, or "FG" to her homies. It's always a pleasure to see Laura in PTC productions as she is always smiley which straight away melts hearts of even the hardest audience member.

Loved Marie Rogers as Baroness Hardup, the baddie of the piece. just the right amount of evilness mixed in with comedy to make the character unlike-able but with a comedy element. Loved the facial expressions from Marie which reminded me at times of June Brown who plays Dot Cotton in Eastenders. A lovely characterization role.

There was comedy gold with the two ugly sisters and a casting made in heaven, the two sisters, Susperia (Mike Pearson) and Mellifluous (Rob Goll) were wonderful in the traditional "sisters" roles but were bang up to date with their comic retorts and their working of the audience. Pure class!

Prince Charming and his right hand wingman, Dandini were played by Hannah Rogers-Gee and Catherine Cunningham respectively and the pair were electric in their vocal duet. Both have brilliant voices which were showed off wonderfully in their solo and joint sections.

Cliff Hart played the "under the thumb" Baron and Roy Smith played Major Domo.

A brilliant ensemble of regular faces were so tight in the choreography pieces. The enthusiasm showed by every dancer and singer in that group was just brilliant to see. So many times you spot the odd one who looked like they were just in there to bump the numbers up but not here. A posse of brilliantly executed talent who lived up to the old adage of "eyes and teeth". They looked like they were loving every minute on that stage.

Great sets and exciting lighting and more than a touch of panto magic, especially when Cinders old rags just seemed to disappear and her ball gown appeared as if by Fairy Godmother magic. A wonderful piece of theatre and great costumes from Jules Sheppard and Jason Pollitt.

A brilliant script and some very funny and topical jokes made this a fresh show with great energy for all ages. When your job is to look out for errors and mistakes and there are none, you really very quickly settle into enjoying the show as an audience member, and I did this very quickly. This is as close to perfection as you're going to get. Great group of actors, wonderful singing, great music choices, spanning several decades and genres, pyrotechnics and a wonderful script all result in the best panto I've seen this year.

"Cinderella" is on at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Sunday 20 December 2015.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

"Macbett" by Eugene Ionesco.
Nottingham New Theatre.

Two generals, Macbett and Banco, foil a rebellion. In payment for their heroic service, Archduke Duncan promises to bestow on them land, titles and cash, but he reneges on the deal. Encouraged by the seductive Lady Duncan, Macbett plots to assassinate the Archduke and crown himself King. He tries to maintain his grip on the throne through a vicious cycle of murder and bloodshed. Meanwhile, he is haunted by the ghosts of his victims, Duncan and Banco, and discovers that his new wife is not all that she seems.

This production is weird, but that's not a bad thing because it's "good-weird" not bad -weird. Imagine Shakespeare's classic Scottish play performed by a combined team of Monty Python and The Comic Strip and put on at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and that's the kind of vibe you get here.

It's over the top, loud and at times by being OTT and loud, comes across as quite amateurish. But that, I think, is what it was meant to be like, be4cause that's what gave a lot of the comedic touches. Don't get me wrong, the script by Ionesco, translated by Charles Marowitz, is very funny. A satirical doffing of caps to Shakespeare.

There's a wonderful line about the audience walking out of the on stage play because the play was boring, and then the cast collectively turn to the audience, as if checking they were all there still. A masterpiece line of comedy which drew the audience into the action. Not the first or last time the audience were brought into the play.

The fight choreography was brilliantly designed and directed by Hayden Ashby, and the staged face slapping was some of the best that I have seen. the timing of the slaps were spot on and really effective.

The costumes and props were also really good. Too many people to credit for those. Which brings me to say that there was a massive production and technical crew behind this production, and it shows.

Laurence Cuthbert played Macbett and I was so surprised to see in the programme that this is his first production for NNT because he is a comedy acting genius. So natural at presenting the comedy lines and the physicality of the role.

Duncan McGillivray played Banco, again a brilliant piece of casting in the role as the two were like a brilliant comedy act... that is until Banco got killed off by Macbett!

Emilie Brittain transformed from Raven (one of the witches), to the gorgeous Lady Duncan/Lady Macbett, marrying Macbett after much teasing and seduction techniques, many not on the subtle side!! A natural performance and very believable as the seductress.

Duncan was played by Tom Toland, and a bit of a highlight for me, plus a great comedy accent.

There were several NNT first-timers in this production and I was so impressed by their performances as you wouldn't have realised unless you looked in the programme.Apartr from Laurence there were stand out performances from the newbies Beth Angella, who had me smiling in the first few minutes of her performance, and Bethany O' Brien who had dual roles.

Someone else who also made me smile was Cameron Walker who was great as the lemonade seller and was part of the ensemble. he was also on the receiving end of several staged pieces of violent behaviour.

Joe Hincks kept the continuity going, not just in the play but letting us know in his Bunny character that it was time to go into the theatre space, and when the break was. A wonderfully novel move to have this character be part time usher and role player. It definitely set the tone for what to expect.

The stage managers had their job cut out with the props, costumes and various entrances and exits and all did a great job. Again too many to mention here but a brilliant combined effort.

Directed by Chris Trueman, who I've seen his work before and love the "off the wall" approach to his choices. Different and fresh which is what keeps theatre alive.

The other half of the power-house team of production is Emma Kendall, who, again I've had the great pleasure of seeing her previous work in "Rhinoceros" (also written by Ionesco), "Dr Faustus" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

If you like your Shakespeare just a little different, a little more manic, a little left of centre, then this is the production to see. Alternatively, if you just want to see a good comedy presented by a very talented group of people, then this is also the production to see. Stick with it because it's worth it!

"Macbett" is on at The Nottingham New Theatre, on the University campus, until Saturday 5 December 2015.