Tuesday, 29 November 2016

"All The World's A Stage & Other Stories"
Nottingham New Theatre.
"All the World's A Stage..." written by Yee Heng Yeh with additional material by ian Sheard is a collection of comedy vignettes which would nor be out of place in one of those topical comedy sketch shows from the 1980's like "Not the Nine O Clock News".
It's not often that the Nottingham New Theatre put on a performance like this that is out an out comedy and it's nice to see this sort of entertainment because the comedy, while at times being raw, is refreshing and is actually funny.
The first and shortest of the mini plays is all about John Cage's "4.33" which is just 4.33 of silence but this time round the stage version where nothing happens for that length of time. Or it would've been if not for an "audience member" who wouldn't stop talking while the "director" explained the piece.
All part of the play but what struck home for me was that I, until I was enlightened didn't get the whole "4.33" idea when it was attempted to get that piece of "music" to number one to try and keep the X Factor song from the number one spot a few years back. i listened to the YouTube "video" and thought there was something wrong because I couldn't hear anything. i just didn't get it either!.
The next scenario was all around the "X Factor" style get famous quick game with the good judge/bad judge situation with a couple of really bad contestants.
Merging into the next scene where there was a doctor/patient scene and our dependency on self diagnosis via the internet.
A very off the wall playlet then followed about a machine being trialled in a school called the "psych-o" which is where info from the students of a school are fed into the "psych-o" to find out the students' worth but turns against it's creator/operator.
And finally "All the World's A Stage" where a prisoner and dictator have a "final hours" conversation where everything is turned on it's head and becomes almost a role reversal.
Very cleverly written and well observed pieces of work which i imagine would fit in well in the Edinburgh Fringe scope of comedy show. It's sharp and fresh, almost what may have been termed alternative comedy 30 years ago, but what i prefer to call comedy. if it makes you laugh, why add an "alternative" tag to it, and laugh it did make the audience do.
Beth Angella, Arnaud Lacey, Ronan Lee, Sam Morris and Will Kitchen were the cast and took several parts each, showing a nice range of parts and accents throughout the various character roles they were asked to portray.
Directed by first time director Yee Heng Yeh and James McGilloway, who had directed previously, the two created a slick blend of comedy which segued nicely, keeping the interest and comedy value to the fore.
No flashy lighting techniques, just basic, solid lighting to show the actors in, if you'll pardon the pun, in their best light. Nice use of sound bites.
For a piece that started off as a class assignment,it's blossomed nicely into a well thought out comedy sketch collection, proving that not only do Nottingham New theatre produce some excellent drama, serious writing and theatrical technology people, they can also produce good comedy as well.

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