Tuesday, 29 May 2018

“Top Hat” by Carlton Operatic Society
Nottingham Theatre Royal

The musical is based on the 1935 film of the same name, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. In “Top Hat” we follow Broadway superstar Jerry Travers as he arrives in London to appear in a stage show from producer Horace Hardwick. But this being a screwball comedy, things do not go according to plan and pretty soon a case of mistaken identity and romance sends things off course. Travers attempts to win the heart of society girl, Dale Tremond but she mistakes him for Hardwick – a married man – meaning that his advances horrify her as he attempts to gain her hand in marriage.

This has to be one of the most glamorous of dance musicals around, but for the actors involved one that involves a lot of hard work and practice, not least in the dance numbers. But that’s no problem for Carlton Operatic; they are no strangers to hard work, as you’ll already know if you’ve seen any of their past productions.

Taking on Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was never going to be an easy ask for our leads but this pair took you into their own little  glamorous world and for a while Jonny and Abby were Fred and Ginger.

Abby Wells (Dale Tremont) oozed glamour and Hollywood style and what a gorgeous voice. her finesse when dancing made her look like she was floating above the stage.

Jonny Allen (Jerry Travers) is a very charismatic leading man and  a very capable tap dancer. You instantly warm to him and his cheesy one liners.

Graham Ward (Horace Hardwick) makes us wait until almost the last number for us to really hear what a lovely singing voice he has in his duet with Sarah in "Outside Of That i Love You", a song that shows off Berlin's great comic writing style.

Sarah Walker-Smith (Madge Hardwick) has been teased back to performing by this brilliant musical and she delivers an effortless performance of womanly wit.

Drew Dennis (Alberto Beddini) not only shows off a fine singing voice - which anyone who has seen him before would know of anyway - but also a convincing Italian accent. He also is a very good character actor and managed to get some of the ladies in the audience a bit hot under the collar with his strip tease. Well the elderly pair I sat next to got a bit fidgety at this stage of the proceedings! Seriously though, this is a gem of a part and Drew shone.

Matt Wesson (Bates). What can I say about matt that I haven't said before. He is a brilliant character actor with a multitude of voices and accents, all highlighted in the role of Horace's man servant. He's always had an eye and ear for comedy and casting Matt in this role really plays to all of his strengths.

A big ensemble of actors and dancers fill the stage and it's always fun to not read the programme and spot the local actors from other shows, knowing that the ensemble is always going to be as strong and dependable as the main character actors.

Part of that ensemble is also one to watch vocal wise, and that is Jacob Fowler who plays the hotel singer.

There are so many fine vocal ensemble parts which also create that feeling of heavenly choirs. Think Hollywood, Broadway and the old Esther Williams vocal scores and that will give you an idea of the feel of these sections.

Rachael Rees does an amazing job in choreographing this show. The choreography plays a massive part in creating that glamorous world of the Hollywood and Broadway jet set and you really feel that you've been transported to that particular era with these dance routines. just magical, and after all this is Fred and Ginger's forte.

Directed by Ross Lowe and in his Carlton Operatic Directorial debut, Ross has brought together a team of performers that are so strong, you could easily forget that these lot do not do this full time as a profession.

Chris Rees is the Musical Director, and what an incredible score he has to work with. “Puttin’ On The Ritz” “I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket”. “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”, “Top Hat, White Tie And Tails”, “Cheek To Cheek” are just a few of the magical songs that Chris and his wonderful 15 piece orchestra reproduce in this show.

As you'd expect the costumes were out of this world, simply oozing style and class on every on on the stage.

For a musical of this size there are a lot of people, many I know from other local theatre groups who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the cogs of theatre turning as smooth as this group do.

A slick stage management and scene changers - and what amazing sets and scenes there were for this show, many taking your breath away at first sight.

Great lighting, designed by Tom Mowat and the Sound Design by Rob Kettridge, Rob Temperton and the Theatre Royal.

So if you want a night out that has class, style, great talent, clever script and lyrics, as well as infuriatingly catchy tunes and incredible dance routines, you need to look no further than this show.

“Top Hat” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 2 June 2018.

Monday, 28 May 2018

"Blue Stockings" by Jessica Swale
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre.
This is one powerful play aimed at women's rights and education as well as historical events surrounding events that are still relevant in today's society regarding the equality of women.
It tells the story of the battle fought at Girton College, Cambridge in 1896 to earn women the right to graduate. Even if each scene is calculated to make a point, Swale writes with vigour and leaves you astonished at the prejudices these young women had to overcome.
The focus is on four new Girton girls, of whom Tess, an astronomy student, is the most determinedly outspoken.
Women are given the option of education or marriage and both routes are explored throughout the play.
What is appalling is the hostility the women encounter, not least from male undergraduates who either bully or patronise their female contemporaries.Blatant sexual pigeon holing and insults are dealt out to the women who were expected to take it or leave. the women teachers also often afraid to "rock the boat". One even admitting to progressing her education at the downfall of her relationship.
The fight for equality, as well as the vote for women to graduate at times turns to violence, but who will win by the end and will education conquer love as an option?
It's strange how different directors can make a play so different, not better, just different and Roger Watson has done a wonderful job with this play, even making a cameo in the piece. What i liked about this production was the pace and fluidity of the play. As one scene ended the next came into play.
The cast was a mix of new faces and Lace Market Theatre regulars, and one nice thing about this piece of theatre is that you can show the talents of both younger and more mature actors, covering a large age spectrum.
There were a few very passionate performances here and I must highlight Sarah Taylor for her role as Mrs Welsh, Heather Pearson as Tess, Jacob Baker as Will and Aaron Connelly as Lloyd. All four had very passionate speeches to deliver, all heightening the audiences emotions.
There was not a poor performance to be seen in this well matched cast. Emily Shillan, Hannah Breedon, Sophie Owen, Joel Heritage, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Nathan Sharpe, Jonathan Cleaver, Joanna HoyesLiza Pybus, John Anthony, Richard Fife, Roger Watson, Adelaide Marshall, James Whitby and Arwen Makin all delivered excellent performances.
Some excellent dialect work here also.
I mentioned the pace earlier of the play and credit must be paid to the stage managers Sam Howitt and Bex Mason for the smooth scene changes and making sure that all went to plan backstage, making the play move on at a cracking pace.
One regular scene change was from the halls of education to the orchard and this was done by light projection alone with a subtle soundscape befitting an orchard at night. Creating these images visually and aurally were Allan Green with the lighting and Jack Harris with the sound.
The costumes were excellent and there's nothing like seeing a period play with a relevant wardrobe and this one was very classy.
It's a great story, and an important one to tell, with some excellent actors. the passion is there for all to see and when the passion spills over from the stage to the audience, it makes for a great talking point long after the play has ended. And that is what you'll find if you go and see "Blue Stockings".
"Blue Stockings" is at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 2 June 2018. Educational as well as great entertainment.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

“Confusions” by Alan Ayckbourn
Ravenshead Theatre Group
Ravenshead Village Hall
Originally a five piece play, Ravenshead Theatre group have reduced this to four to make the four pieces more relevant.
"Mother Figure", "Drinking Companion", "Between Mouthfuls" and "Gosforth's Fete". These four make a smooth transition from one play to the next but the fifth in the sequence, which is the one that has been omitted was “A Talk In The Park”, which covers the aftermath of the previous four plays.
I’m not going to give any spoilers about any of these plays because they are cleverly segued by Ayckbourn and you need to follow the stories from play one through to play four to get the full effect and thread to be able to iron out any confusions that may be given if the plays are taken out of context.
What I will say though is that is classic Ayckbourn, which means that there are many laughs - not titters, not giggles but proper laughs and that is down, not just to the script but to the actors who brought the words and physicality of the play alive.
Catherine Buckley was wonderful as the "mother" in the first play and the lovely gentle Welsh Milly in the final play who has a secret that is revealed in the most public of revelations.
Rob Hurst appears in three of the four plays and I couldn't possibly choose a favourite of his characters, just like the other actors
Sarah Tryner was an absolute star in all three of her pieces and her facial expressions were an absolute joy, as were her character portrayals. It is her role as the waitress in "Between Mouthfuls" which for me showed off her comedy skills to the max.
Terry Cox plays a wonderful drunk in "Drinking Companions" and a wonderful comedy vicar in "Gosforth's Fete".
Mandy Buckley features in two of the four and for me her piece de resistance is as Polly in "Between Mouthfuls" , a role that's different to Bernice in "Drinking Companions", which I also loved.
Julie Cox, again in two of the four plays injects plenty of glamour into both roles but the comedy elements really shows in her second role as Mrs Pearce in "Gosforth's Fete".
Last but not least is Adam Hague who featured most in the final of the four plays.
Much as I would love to tell you more about the roles and the plays, you really do have to see these plays and the wonderfully comical characters without knowing too much about them before hand.
Directed by Dennis Baggarley and "Fete" by Andy Cook, they. along with the actors made sure that the comedy was clear and uncomplicated and an easy but enjoyable watch.
Another fine production by all involved.
“Confusions” is being performed at Ravenshead Village Hall until Saturday 26 May 2018.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

“Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical” by Beeston Musical theatre Group
The Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
The epic struggle between good and evil oozes to life on stage in this epic musical phenomenon. Based on the classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson and featuring a thrilling score from multi-Grammy- and Tony-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double-Oscar- and Grammy-winning Leslie Bricusse.
An evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself– both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret.
A devoted man of science, Dr. Henry Jekyll is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve some of mankind's most challenging medical dilemmas. Rebuffed by the powers that be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own
experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons along with the man that the world would come to know as Mr. Hyde.
"Jekyll & Hyde" is often overshadowed by shows like "Phantom Of The Opera" but after seeing this production, it is very much on par, if not better.
That's the easy bit; now let's see how concise I can get this next bit! I was going to start off with "OMG" but I think "OMFG" is more accurate.
Jekyll and Hyde are played by George Mercer, and anyone having seen George perform before, like myself will know that he has the perfectly pitched voice for this very challenging vocal piece of theatre. He has the drama in his delivery and the subtle facial movements are just as eerie as the full blown contortions of the transformation from Jekyll to the evil Mr Hyde.
He simply lowers his voice to an eerie growl when in Hyde persona and his eyes take on an almost manic appearance. When Hyde enters the stage, a seemingly colder atmosphere takes over.
Lily Taylor-Ward, again perfectly cast as Lucy, the lady of the night Jekyll falls for. This role though is a role that has stretched Lily and I know that she has not played anything like this in her past theatrical roles. I can, hand on heart, state that I have never seen Lily act the way she did tonight!
Like many of the roles in this superb musical, it asks a lot from the actor and they push the performer to stretch themselves, and that is exactly what the three main roles request of the talented cast.
Her voice is perfectly matched for George and her rendition of "Someone Like You" sends the hairs on your body into overdrive. Chillingly beautiful, as is the duet "In His Eyes" which Lily sings with Claire.
Playing Emma, Jekyll's fiancee, is Claire Rybicki. Once again a perfect casting and her gorgeous clear vocals ring out. There's a lot of passion in Claire's performance especially in the final scenes of this piece of theatre.
Spider, the woman in charge of the bordello where Lucy works is played by Abby Riddell.Not the nicest of characters but what a performance and another very distinctive vocal style.
This musical is a bit of a change from the last few musicals as in the past we've seen BMTG perform comedy. This week though we get to see many regulars acting very differently and they show a completely different side of their talents.
Rob CharlesChris Bryan - who also did an amazing job of the fight choreography, David HurtDavid ArtissJohn Hand and Andy Bulmer, I'm so used to seeing them in comedy roles proved that they could pull out very credible serious performances
There are also a lot of new faces in this show who slotted in perfectly into this musically very complex work.John Henson, Andy Wallace and Garreth Frank, it was a pleasure to have time for an all too brief chat after the show. Welcome to the BMTG family.
The female ensemble section were also packed with many BMTG favourites. Cheryl CammMariko JonesKatie BirdLucy CastleCarrie-Anne CornerJane CotteeClaire Farrand-PrestonSandy C LaneMina Machin - who did an amazing job with the incredible costumes in the show, Rachel Maddison, Cheryl Mills, Jackie Rawling, Hollie Smith and Laura Smith all helped to create a wonderful stage presence and a wonderful choral feel to many of the musical numbers.
With such a large cast/ensemble, the choreography needs to be tight as well as exciting and Jodie Cresdee succeeded in smashing this part of the production right out of the ball park.
Musically directed by Sam Griffiths and Andrea Chapman so we know the music is going to be of the highest quality, and it was. No fear of drowning these amazing singers with the power they all have, just a wonderfully mixed sound - thanks to Harry Greatorex - who was also responsible for the sound effects which had the audience wincing vocally.
An incredible lighting design which added so much to the tension and atmosphere of the show, designed and engineered by Dave Martin and Matthew Cook. Stunning!
Directed by Beth Yearsley, this show is so incredibly fast moving and has such a large cast and ensemble, Beth showed that she does not shy away from a challenge, and that challenge paid off big time.
The set design was also very clever. Simple stage within a stage which meant that we were forced to focus on a smaller area and concentrate on the actors and their performance, making the intensity of the show uppermost. A very clinical approach which was apt for a doctor and his laboratory setting.
If I didn't know this wonderful group of talented people, and this was the first time that I had seen one of BMTG's shows, you'd think that this was a professional touring show the quality is so high.
The vocals from everyone were out of this world, my hair follicles had a proper workout throughout this show. The acting was passionate, the music, lights, sound, orchestra, stage management, choreography were of a level that I have often seen on big touring shows, which puts BMTG on a par with the big gun professionals.
I had many superlatives going through my mind to describe everything about this practically perfect musical and production, but I relented from using them as you know I don't like to go too over the top.
“Jekyll & Hyde” is at The Duchess Theatre until Saturday 26 May 2018 with a special Charity Night on Thursday 24 May 2018.

Photos by Martin Holtom

Thursday, 17 May 2018

“NSFW” by Lucy Kirkwood
Nottingham New Theatre
The play's title refers to a website acronym meaning "not safe for work" and applies to soft-porn material you wouldn't want to be caught browsing.
The first half of the play is set in the offices of a lad mag called Doghouse that delights in publishing blown-up shots of female breasts: the crisis comes when the editor, Aidan, discovers that a well-meaning junior, Sam, has sanctioned the use of shots of a 14-year-old girl. The girl's age comes as a bit of a surprise to everyone, especially Sam
The play doesn’t just focus on the grubby end of the men's mag market: but goes on to show Miranda, editor of a glossy women's mag called Electra, interviewing the now-destitute Sam and imbuing him with her own corrupt values.
I always find it quite rude to look at one's watch while in the theatre, but I had to check mine because this 90 minute play just flew by and the end came all too soon for me.
Yet another new play to me, which is one thing that the New Theatre are so very good at, choosing little known plays which are powerful and relative pieces of theatre which larger theatre groups shy away from. I am so pleased that NNT are not backwards at coming forward where their choice of plays are concerned.
The cast are perfectly chosen and they all stand out as incredibly talented young actors. There was absolutely nothing I could find to fault this wonderfully written play.
Rupert (Ronan Sullivan) is one of those typical "lads" you could see in any pub, and he just happens to have the perfect job for a character like Rupert, working on a lads mag. His crude banter with Charlotte (Amelia Bell) is cringe worthy but very funny. This is Amelia's debut for NNT but the comfortable feeling she emits in this role makes her a joy, as well as an easy, watch.
The new boy on the Doghouse block, Sam is played by Charlie Basley. Charlie brings the "wet behind the ears" Sam to life with the main part of the role showing deep embarrassment.
Aidan, the boss of the magazine, is played very powerfully by Zack Collins. This is a powerhouse performance by Zack especially in his scene with the father of the 14 year old girl's father, Mr Bradshaw.
I was really blown away by every performer but Ethan McCrystal who played Mr Bradshaw had me leaning forward in my seat with a wonderfully passionate performance. You felt the anger in his tirade against the magazine boss, and what made this even more overpowering for me was this was Ethan's first production with NNT. I don't know if he has acted in the past but this for me showed a very passionate actor who can realistically make you feel the emotions that his character was experiencing.
Completing this brilliant cast was another wonderful character role, Miranda, played by Ellen Dennis. A brilliant comic charcater who we discover to be a harder cookie than first seen. You can see the powerful business woman beneath that friendly and fun exterior.
As I said,the acting and the roles were completely faultless.
Bringing this very entertaining play to the stage is credit to Director Nat Henderson and Producer Georgina Pittman. Perfectly paced and where the scene changes occurred, they were swiftly executed by the cast to flickering lights and to the sound of come classic female 80's pop classics.
Lighting design is by Joe Strickland and Sound design by Yasmine Dankwah backed by an equally talented technical crew.
Why this beautifully crafted piece of writing has not been performed more I don't know. The cast have many pages of script each but the fluidity of the script and timing of this cast make this another classy as well as classic NNT production.
“NSFW” is at the Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 19 May 2018

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

“Fame” by Greasepaint Productions
Loughborough Town Hall
I’m sure that everyone knows the story of this musical but here goes…..
A group of young people, from vastly different backgrounds, have just been accepted for a five year course at the prestigious New York High School of Performing Arts. They soon find out that it is not all just singing, dancing and fun. It entails a lot of hard work, frustration and occasional disappointment.
The story looks at a number of students, their private and academic lives and their relationships. This is not just a bunch of musical pieces joined together by a flimsy story. There is love and drama, joy and sadness all played out with great feeling. They take on subjects such as homosexuality, prostitution, drug addiction and young death. They do not skirt around the issues but confront them head on.
For a reviewer who has seen this musical several times now, what is most refreshing is spotting the new members of Greasepaint, and there are several here. Backing the newer members up are some very accomplished regulars to the Loughborough stages. And I am sure that the opening is a little different as well.
Yvette Healey, one of the new faces, plays Carmen with a great deal of Latin sassiness, in contrast to the lovelorn Serena, played by Gemma Landers. Both ladies have great voices.
Serena is in love with Nick, played by Jonny Painting. There are highlights for all the main characters and for Jonny it’s one of my favourite songs from the musical “I Want To Make Magic”
One of my favourite young actors from the area is Joe Harrison who is perfectly cast as Tyrone. I’ve always highlighted Joe’s technical and artistic dancing abilities and these are spotlighted, along with his confident and strong vocals as Tyrone. Both are no better highlighted in the track “Dancing On The Sidewalk”. "Fame" is all about the dancing and Joe has several styles of dance that he performs with ease and style, and just watch the shaping of his hands.
Another of my favourites is Chris Wilson who never fails to bring a smile to any audience’s face and as Joe, he plays to his strengths as a wonderful comedy character actor. Hear the sauce in his version of “Can’t Keep It Down” and watch out for his choreoghraphy in Act Two!
Hannah Underwood plays Mabel, the ever hungry student who has a lovely gospelly solo spot in "Mabel's Prayer"
Harriet North plays Iris, the ballet dancer who is paired with Tyrone. there is something really peaceful and relaxing watching ballet, and that's the feeling you get watching Harriet dance.
Josh Hill plays Schlomo, the student who is living up to his violin playing father's fame, and nice to see a local actor show his musical skills as he plays violin and keyboards on stage. So many times I've seen obvious miming with instruments so this is really refreshing and an eye opener to Josh's talents.
Ollie Lewin plays Goodie, the trumpeter of the music student trio, and Ollie gets to play to his strengths in singing and his obvious comic talents as well as some very energetic dancing.
Emily Canham plays Lambchop, the drumming third of the music students, and again playing her drums on stage, a nice surprise.
Anna Rowlands as Miss Bell the dance teacher and Katherine Pledger as Miss Sherman the English teacher clash over Tyrone's studying which results in a wonderful duet between the pair. Katherine also gets to belt out another one of my favourite songs from this show "These Are My Children"
Tania Smith is the drama teacher Mrs Myers and completing the faculty staff id Alan Clarke as the music teacher Mr Sheinkopf.
Choreography is in the very capable hands of Jeanette Patrick-Cooper who has done a great job on this one, especially when you see how many different styles of dance are featured in "Fame". It does help though having a great ensemble of very capable dancers who I know have worked their socks off on this show.
Musical Director for this show is James Stevens and like Jeanette, the music genres are as varied to match the dances
There are some great songs in this musical, "Let's Play A Love Scene". the latin tinged "There She Goes", the big numbers for me "Bring On Tomorrow" and of course the title track, sung at the end complete with a big yellow New York taxi.
There were a few wobbly notes in some of the songs where some of the singers didn't quite hit the higher notes, but these are just very minor notings on my part
"Fame" is a big show with a big cast, big dance numbers, big songs and big characters so it's only right that such a show has two big Directors in James Nelson and Gareth Wynne, who makes his debut as a Director after spending so many years being a Musical Director and actor.
Wonderful colourful lighting design (Kevin Cutts) and a clear sound design (Rob Temperton) and some lovely costumes.
The energy in this show is so infectious no one seems to show a bead of sweat or even look out of breath, and they never miss a beat even when dancing and singing at the same time. A truly professional performance with a cast of very talented all rounders whose names will live forever within local theatre.
“Fame” is at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 19 May 2018 but tickets may now be limited due to the popularity of this theatre group.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

“Legally Blonde”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Legally Blonde is the well-known story of sorority president Elle Woods, as she crosses the country on a mission to find love at Harvard Law School. After discovering that she can use law for the greater good, she uses her new found skills to defy the odds and prove that pink really can save the day.
The X Factor’s 2009 finalist Lucie Jones plays Elle Woods and I think I'm in love with her. Proving that there is so much more to this singer than just a great voice, she shows what a talented stage actress she is. There are little facial expressions that she gives that make Elle's character so natural, and Lucie could possibly be the best Elle that I've seen. Such a well rounded performance which is also great fun to watch. There's also a mention for Simon Cowell shoe horned into the script!
Hairdresser and Beautician, Paulette Bonafonte, is played by Rita Simons, best known for her role as Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders. I think I am also in love with Paulette. She gives a gutsy performance which you just can't help but love. And what a wonderfully raspy soul edge to her vocals.
Another soap star plays Professor Callaghan. Bill Ward who was last seen falling from a motorway bridge in Emmerdale, and previously being beaten to death by Tracy Barlow in Coronation Street, at least survives this role.
Soap stars often get pigeon holed but when you see actors who are known for being in weekly TV dramas like Eastenders, Emmerdale and Coronation Street on stage, you really see another side of them. Or maybe we just see another layer of their talents that we've not yet discovered. If Bill hasn't played Billy Flynn in "Chicago", he ought to after seeing him in this role.
Bill Ward can sing and he can also bust some moves out as well, and you find yourself having a new kind of admiration for soap actors like Rita and Bill.
The rest of the mains are absolutely superb. David Barrett (Emmett Forrest), Liam Doyle (Warner Huntingdon III),Laura Harrison (Vivienne) and Ben Harlow (Kyle B O' Doyle) also go to prove that this could be the best professional cast I've seen do "Blonde".
And then there's the ensemble actors who add more layers to this gorgeous musical.
A wonderfully crisp orchestra who complemented the onstage vocals without once swamping them. Directed and choreographed by Anthony Williams, this is a show that is pretty dance heavy, for all the cast members and ensemble.
This show has so much energy in it that even the skipping ropes lit up from the sheer power and skipping skills of the cast
The set reminded me of a cartoon page with its' off kilter and slanted scenery, only added to the comic style element.
But stealing most of the hearts tonight were Bruiser and Rufus, the two canine stars.
Oh My God how I love this musical which is crammed full of catchy tunes, great characters, a fun script, that may not be quite PC - but who cares? It's bright, breezy, bouncy, camp and pink! What more could you ask for?
A total standing ovation showed that this is a much loved piece of theatre that will continue top bring great pleasure to theatre audiences for decades to come.
“Legally Blonde” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 19 May 2018. You’ll be tickled pink if you manage to bend and snap up a ticket for this fun, frothy, feel good musical

Monday, 14 May 2018

“Vaginal Discharge” by Florence Bell
Nottingham New Theatre
Often the title of a new play gives a bit of an incite into what the play is about; erm… well…OK, it's all about women's issues. Things that us blokes know of but really know nothing about.... basically because we're not women!
Flippant I know but, like the male character, King,the only male character in this play shows, we blokes are pretty ignorant about what happens to a woman's body, and what they endure.
The four, all female cast set out to educate the male majority audience tonight, and I found myself being educated in an entertaining way, not unlike Eve Ensler's ground breaking "Vagina Monologues". You really do leave the theatre a little wiser than when you went in.
We start out watching a follow up to a TV interview about wash powder where Catherine actually said the "V - D" word on prime time TV. From then on we go through several scenes with Catherine and her family including their two daughters, one just starting her periods, highlighting the censorship issues in and out of the home.
Laura Wolczyk (King), Eleanor Rickenbach (Catherine), Rosiella Sutherland (Martha) and Beth Summerfield (Asha) presented and educational and entertaining piece of theatre that could only have been written by a woman and performed by women.
The vivid descriptions of the consistency on the blood flow is something that maybe men shouldn't be privy to, mainly because we're a squeamish lot when it comes to stuff like this. We're OK watching gory films where limbs are ripped off and zombies eat brains from the skull but describe a perfectly "natural" female body function as these women did - and i can only speak for myself here - I was feeling just a little in need of air and smelling salts!
If anything, this play explains what a woman goes through and her feelings about what happens to her, and her body during this time, and while we men like to think we understand, I don't think we really appreciate the affects, so thanks for entertaining and more importantly, educating this bloke
Florence Bell is the writer and Director, assisted by Skylar Turnbull Hurd, and the piece was produced by Francis Simmons
Darcey Graham is the Lighting Director with the Sound Design by Miguel Barrulas.
“ Vaginal Discharge” is at the Nottingham New Theatre until Tuesday 15 May 2018. Don't be bloody minded and go with the flow and get yourself educated as well as entertained.