Monday, 8 May 2017

“Uz & Them” by Jonathan Taylor-Davies
Nottingham New Theatre
The New Theatre are currently presenting their Fringe season of plays and “Uz & Them” is the fifth of the latest line of talented writers, directors, cast and technical folk to showcase their wares for Fringe.
Writer and Director Jonathan Taylor-Davis had borrowed, ever so slightly from the Book Of Job from the First create something not too far removed from a Monty Python sketch for it's ridiculousness. That's not an insult by the way because, even though I'm not the biggest Python fan, I can recognise the intelligent comic writings behind their sketches. I can raise the same parallel with Jonathan T-D.
The play is a court hearing complete with Prosecutor (Henry Hempstead), Counsel for the Defense - Gumble (Chris Trueman), The Judge (Ian Sheard), the Court Clerk/Stenographer (Angharad Davies) and several witnesses, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, all played by Beth Wilson. The three witnesses are the same named ones from the Book of Job.
Now while I level the ridiculous at this wonderfully witty play, there are moments that are pure poetry with a lovely literate quality, again highlighting the intelligence of the writing and the author.
The cast are brilliant and none more so that Henry Hempstead who makes this his first performance for NNT.
Chris Trueman starts off as a very off the wall character with his ramblings.
Ian Sheard has the most amazing wig to wear as The Judge and his speeches are often random.
Talking of random Angharad Davies's "read backs" are wonderfully and randomly completely off the wall. It becomes apparent why that is though as you go through the play. I love the irony as well of a Court Stenographer getting writer's block.
Beth Wilson, who I last saw in "The Black Dog On My Sofa", also managed to create three different characters, the last one made me chuckle with her attitude to Angharad's character.
Produced by Hugo Minta, Directed by Jonathan Taylor-Davies, assisted by Rose Edgeworth. This really is something just a bit different. That's what I like about the plays written, produced and directed by these students at NNT. You don't know what to expect and it's like being there at the birth of a baby, and I am so pleased that I am able to witness births of this quality.
Loved the lighting and sound as well as the costumes. All three areas gave an additional atmosphere to the play.
“Uz & Them” is on at the Nottingham New Theatre on the University campus until Tuesday 9 May 2017 with a 2.30 matinee performance and a 7.30 and additional 9.00 pm evening performance

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