Thursday, 26 January 2017

Lace Market Theatre
“Glorious” is the story of Florence Foster Jenkins. But who is Florence Foster Jenkins?
Florence Foster Jenkins was billed as the worst singer in the world In 1940's New York, The performer who everyone wanted to see live was Florence Foster Jenkins, an enthusiastic soprano whose pitch was far from perfect.
Known as 'the first lady of the sliding scale', she warbled and screeched her way through the evening to an audience who mostly fell about with laughter. But this delusional and joyously happy woman paid little attention to her critics, instead she was surrounded by a circle of devoted friends who were almost as eccentric as she was.
Based upon a true story, the play spins from Florence's charity recitals and extravagant balls, through to her bizarre recording sessions and an ultimate triumph at Carnegie Hall.
Alison Hope plays Florence. This role shows what a good actor Alison is because I know that Alison can sing, and to play a role where the character is an off key singer is a lot harder than most people would think because you automatically want to sing in tune and not just out of key.
A great deal of character concentration is needed as just one slip could break the character. Having seen Alison in several shows I also know what a lovely generous actor she is and playing Florence has elevated her even further up the ranks of being the sort of actor any theatre company wants in their roster of fine actors. Alison rules the stage but doesn't dominate the stage.
Chris Sims plays Cosme McMoon. Another marvellous character and another wonderful performance. As McMoon, Chris has some wonderfully veiled lines to Florence and his facial expressions when delivering them are lovely to see
Max Bromley, as St Clair Byfield. Wonderfully British hammy actor, Byfield, not Bromley, and like Cosme, this character has his fair share of brilliant comic one liners.
The lovely Carol Parkinson is Dorothy, best friend to Florence. This play has almost equality where the comedy is placed because the delightfully scatty Dorothy and her dog produces an unexpected highlight in the funeral scenes.
Maria, played by Beverley Anderson is the Spanish maid employed by Florence. She has been sacked from the position three times, but as she didn't understand English, she just stayed on. Speaking entirely in Spanish, this is another joyous part. Beverley makes her debut for the Lace Market Theatre with this role, and what a brilliant solid debut it is.
Cynthia Marsh plays Mrs Johnson, the lady who plans to scupper Florence's career. Does Mrs Johnson succeed? One way to find out!. Cynthia is known for directing pieces, but here plays a lovely feisty role.
There are some fantastic costumes, primarily for Florence, but Dorothy has some pretty wacky costumes as well. the male costumes are, as you'd expect for the era, pretty damn smart.The costumes are the hard work of Barry Holland and Jean Newton and are lush.
The set itself, designed by Carole Philip is quite beautiful,especially the "ball" scene.
The lighting was designed by Hugh Philip and sound design courtesy of Gareth Morris, sublimely complementing the whole show
Directed by Roger Newnham, this is a lovely almost self-assuring play which gives you a sense of self belief in you can be or do whatever you want to be or do, as long as you have the money and influence.
It;s rare to find a play that has six characters who are as equally watchable and likeable, but here is one that does just that.
“Glorious” is at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 28 January 2017 and I could sum up this incredibly engaging comedy in one word. Glorious.

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