Monday, 15 May 2017

“Rumours” by Emma Summerton
Nottingham New Theatre
‘Rumours’ is a play recounting the lives of Fleetwood Mac at the time of the recording of their most infamous album. Focussing on the bands' battle to stay together, despite all the struggles and heartache the band were dealing with at the time. The sound, the songs, the heartbreak, the tension. The making of music history. The making and breaking of Fleetwood Mac.
The latest in the New Theatre’s Fringe plays which I’ve found to be some of the best new theatre I’ve seen this year, as well as being massively varied.
I, personally didn't know the intricacies of the inner workings of the band, which shows that Emma has really done her homework on this subject, and a fascinating and informative play it really is. Ok I knew that there were fallings out and the marriages and relationships stretched to breaking point, but this play has taught em a lot, as well as being incredibly entertaining.
The fights, the passion, the arguments, the affairs, the drink, the drugs but also the incredible music of Fleetwood Mac was highlighted.
The producer Ken Caillat was played by Sam Morris, who I'd seen in a couple of productions before. He broke the fourth wall by addressing members of the audience and passing out the occasional mini pot of jam!
Boo Jackson (Christine McVie) unleashed real passionate anger at Arthur McKechnie (John McVie) as his drinking and drugs habit and extra marital affairs spiralled.Boo I'd seen before but Arthur I'd not seen before, but a pretty convincing drunk he made. It's always so easy to take "drunk" over the top but I think Arthur got it just about right.
Jess Lundholm played the sexy Stevie Nicks opposite Andrew Houghton's Lindsey Buckingham. Again a fiery pair in and out of the studio, often like a powder keg just waiting for the spark.
Joe Strickland was almost unrecognisable under the heavy wig and beard of Mick Fleetwood, clearly the brains of the Mac.
Directed, as well as written by Emma Summerton, she has brought out the character actor in all of her cast and her research and writing has got to be credited. Her right hand woman is Producer Maggie Dorling, a super pairing.
The set was also worthy of a mention with the recording desk, posters as well as the obligatory comfy chair, drinks cabinet plus a bed and drugs. Everything catered for and on hand for the wants of the archetypal rock star.
The lighting was an important part of this play because it gave focus to the monologues of the individual members of Fleetwood Mac. highlighting, literally, what was said. A job well carried out by Lighting Designer, Nathan Penney.
And of course, we can't forget the music snatches which we heard in between the scene changes, showcasing the marvellous music that the band had written for the album "Rumours". The music design was by Will Peters. You can also find a remix by Will of "The Chain" on Soundcloud which featured in the play under Cosmic Will.
An entertaining and educational 90 minutes which will have you fixated on this wonderful tribute to a group of musicians who, although fragmented, are still giving us music to this day.
“Rumours” is at the New Theatre, Nottingham until Tuesday 16 May 2017

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