Thursday, 18 May 2017

“Lemon Popsicle” by Smelly Sox Theatre
Create Theatre, West Notts College
What happens when a hard working pensioner called Henry is unhappy with his repetitive job and troubled family life, well he goes out for a drink to unwind and there meets an old friend of his called Denham. Denham wants to go out on the town and paint it red one last time and Henry goes along with him. This is the story of what happens.
This is the first production I’ve seen from Smelly Sox Theatre, the group formed by Matt Lamb. This their third production.
You know what I like about new pieces of theatre? That they are new. You don't have any preconceptions of what it's all about and you can't make any comparisons, which is a great position to be in as an audience member.
"Lemon Popsicle" is written by Connor Talbot and is a really good piece of comedy theatre which I can
see going down well at The Edinburgh Fringe because the comedy is of that style.
The voice over to open the play sets the scene well and introduces the two main characters as Henry is taking a leak in the bushes. As I said, it sets you up as to what to expect.
There's a lot of bad language and while that may not be of the norm, I know of people of that age who are as crude as these two, so it's not that far away from reality.
the thing that first hits you is Henry's enormous moustache. Think 1970's porn films and that's what you have. i know that some may be drawn to this but in a way it's just a caricature, a lampoon or cartoonish element.
Julian Salmon (Henry) is good at presenting the aged look and the physicality of the character, as is Matt Lamb as the geriatric rebel rouser, Denham, who's libido has not waned with age.
The pair were a good match and complemented each other, and the characters well. there's an excellent section when the club kids have a dance off with Denham and Henry which was well choreographed.
Sally, Henry's Granddaughter, is played by Chloe Thistlewait, who has a secret to hide from Henry, but it's on the oldies night out when that secret is discovered in a most embarrassing way for both,
Sally's boyfriend, who also is Henry's bullying boss is Jayce, played by Dan Wilkinson. His characterisation of the bully boss is one that gets you to instantly dislike, and you really pray for him to get his comeuppance, which he does, thanks to our dynamic duo.
There's a section where Sally is trying on dresses which is very funny and straight out of something like "The Young Ones", Rude and laddish but let's face it laddish humour is also very funny, when it's happening to someone else.
Ryan Drew brings a great comedy element to this play as Estelle, or is that Erotic Estelle. Denham shows that he can still pull in these modern disco bars and pull Estelle he does, and gets a lot more than he bargains for!
Loved the dance routine for this section as well which included a section borrowed from the film "Dirty Dancing", Really well done and very funny.
The bar person, Jordi, was played by Natasha Hobbart. I was a little confused as to whether Jordi was supposed to be male or female, even though it was very obvious that Natasha is female, I just wasn't sure from the script where Jordi's preferences lay.
Completing the cast is Kian Stanley who played the other local in the pub.
One issue I found was that not everyone projected and sometimes it was a little hard (sorry Jayce), to hear some of the words. One other rule of the theatre is not to turn your back on the audience and there were a couple of times when this happened, again losing some of the script to the back of the stage. These are things that you learn along the way and something that Director Tom Wilson can rectify easily with his cast members.
It's a good and comical script and it was nice to see a different side in the end scene. It was a clever piece of writing and directing to have the audience focus on Henry's speech while something else was happening on the other side of the stage. this was also well highlighted by the lighting designer.
There are a few rough edges that may need to polished but on the whole the rawness worked very well. The script is good, the characters are slightly over the top - nothing at all wrong with that - Monty Python built a career on this form, but remained believable. The choreography was good and I loved the fact that we started and repeated the "Footloose" section near the end, which shows Connor may have a liking for the movie classics of the 1980's.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I look forward to more stuff from Smelly Sox. At just over an hour long as well there is room for expansion and development of the characters, but as a taster, I was impressed.
“Lemon Popsicle” is at the Create Theatre at west Nottingham shire College in Mansfield until Friday May 19th

No comments:

Post a Comment