Tuesday, 21 August 2018

"The Nightmare Room" by Tabs Productions.
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Based on a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, this is one cracker of a play to bring the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season to a close.
Two women. One Locked room. One bottle of poison.Plenty of twists.
Right from the off, you're drawn in to the production by the stark white room, almost like a sterilised hospital room, dare I say an asylum. There is one table, two chairs, a water decanter, two glasses and a phial of poison, and only one person gets out alive.
Why are they there? There's another person involved but what is the connection in this pairing? All is not as it first appears and the twists in this play come as a real surprise!
Sarah Wynne Kordas and Angie Smith play the two women and they put in an incredibly pensive and tension packed performance. The action includes flashbacks which show how they ended up in the locked room. The flashbacks are presented in a very effective way which helps you realise what is happening thanks to blackouts and sound effects.
I don't know Angie, but i do know Sarah and I saw a different side to her acting tonight. I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her after seeing this play!
These two actors keep you right on the edge, and for just two actors to be able to keep you so enthralled is not only an acknowledgement to the wonderful adaptation of the play and the original story, but to the incredible acting skills of Sarah and Angie.
The stark design which gives the sterile environment feel, taking nothing from the two women's performances but adding so much to the atmosphere of the almost crazed and manic twists of the women's actions. But remember, not everyone in this room gets out alive, which makes these twists even more interesting and unexpected.
It's a thriller which oozes class throughout, From the stylised staging and design (John Goodrum) who also directed this edge of the seat piece of theatre, to the power dressing - costumes Geoff Gilder, to the lights and sound effects - and you'll see just why the sound is so important in this play when you see it!
A thriller in the true sense of the word and an amazing end to the 2018 Thriller Season.
"The Nightmare Room" is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 25 August 2018. Don't have sleepless nights about getting tickets for this brilliant production,,, get your tickets NOW!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Tabs Productions
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Week Three of the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season and the thrills continue with Louise Page’s adaptation of the Baroness Orczy’s classic “The Scarlet Pimpernel”
They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek the Pimpernel everywhere. Sacre bleu!
We are transported back to the French Revolution for a story of blackmail, heroism, faith and romance with buckles to be swashed. Will the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel be in time to save the life of the next innocent victim? Well you don’t expect me to give away the ending, do you? Come and see for yourself!
Andrew Ryan stars as the elusive one, as well as Sir Percy Blakeney. Wonderfully foppish as Blakeney and dashing and heroic as The Pimpernel. Putting the Ooh! into Ooh la la.
A relatively new cast and the six actors throughout made it seem deceptively bigger.
Corrinne Begluk (Marguerutte St, Juste), Anna Mitchum (Suzanne De Basseerive), George Gough (Armand St Juste), Stephen Cherrett (Sir Andrew Foulkes) and Mark Huckett (Citizen Chauvelin) balanced the comedy with the thrills perfectly.
Directed by Karen Henson who utilised the whole theatre for exits and entrances for the actors, making this production an even more exciting watch.
Another brilliant touch was to have the actors dressing the sets complete with balletic choreography, and male actors doubling as ladies in a section similar to "Little Britain", both adding to the pure enjoyment of this classic piece of theatre.
Swathes of sweeping red and white material indulged the set and made a visual impact as soon as the curtains opened. designed by John Goodrum.
As only to be expected in this period piece, the costumes and wigs were gorgeous, befitting the decadence of the era, thanks to Geoff Gilder.
All in all this is a brilliant romp where you know what the outcome is going to be, so no whodunnits to guess, just a wonderful camp watch which will
take you back to those heroic story books from your childhood.
“The Scarlet Pimpernel” is a la Theatre Royal until Samedi 18 Aout – or Saturday 18 August por favour.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

"Twelfth Night" by Much Ado About Theatre.
The White Lion, Beeston, Nottingham.
Shakespeare in the open air as part of their local tour, but what happens when it rains?
You put up a gazebo!
What happens if the gazebo is too small for all the people who want to see this production?
You move the production indoors!
Simples, well for us, the audience, but this can cause a multitude of problems performance wise for the actors and crew. Not that you'd have noticed because thinking on your feet and going with the flow is something that this theatre company seem to have a natural ability to do. they moved everything to the pub's upstairs room and performed their production in the round.
"Twelfth Night" or "What You Will" is a Shakespeare comedy, believed to have been written as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.
This cast really take the advantage of making all of the characters very animated, especially Sir Toby Belch, and really shows the cartoonish comedy in Shakespeare's writings, cementing his talent for the absurd.
I've never seen this theatre company before but a few of the cast I had seen before, so straight away knew that I was in for a good performance.
Shakespeare is one of those playwrights that a director and cast can have fun with. Adding bits in and omitting others, making sure that the performance is different to any other production you've seen before. Who would have imagined that "Is This The Way To Amarillo" would be part of one of the Bard's plays?
The cast is very strong, and obviously know each other's strengths, and trust the other actor when ad libbing some parts, which keep Shakespeare fresh and enjoyable over 400 years after they were written.
Peter Radford (Orsino), Chloe Crump (Viola/Cesario), Abi Moore (Olivia), Konrad Skubis (Sebastian/Valentine), Jennifer Reckless (Maria), James Parnham (Sir Toby Belch), Hannah Breedon (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Tori Hope (Antonio), Matthew Hammonds (Feste/Officer) and Nick Parvin(Malvolio/Sea Captain), acted and reacted their socks - or is that stockings - off.
The enthusiasm for what they do is obvious and infectious and they have no qualms about involving members of the audience in their act, showing confidence in their audience's affection for the play and the production company.
The comedy came thick and fast, not just in Shakespeare's words, but also in the physicality of the production; sections of which bordered on slapstick.
Performing in non theatre based surroundings also make it fun and accessible for everyone, and I love the clever way they break down the barriers many people have with Shakespeare by adding the fun and twists to their show.
Looking at the eye catching poster and programme,designed by Chloe Crump, it gave an incite to the cartoony element of the production.
I must also commend the wonderful costumes, supplied by CNR Services Ltd.
A wonderful and fun production which only provides proof that Shakespeare's plays are still popular, as well as great entertainment, for all ages today. And a cast that performs with such ease the words of the Master, will ever keep his plays alive and most definitely kicking.
For more information about this theatre group, please visithttps://www.muchadoabouttheatre.com/

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

“A Touch Of Danger” by Tabs Productions
Nottingham Theatre Royal
The second instalment of Colin McIntyre’s Classic thriller Season 2018, now in its’ 30th year, is a classic Francis Durbridge’s “A Touch Of Danger” and in contrast, but on a par with last week's excellent Season opener.
Max Telligan, a popular novelist, returns to his London apartment from a business trip to Munich when he finds his evening newspaper contains a report of his violent death.
As the evening goes on, Max is greeted by a parade of mysterious visitors as it becomes increasingly clear that he has, it seems, unwittingly become embroiled in the activities of an international terrorist group!
We've come to expect a top notch cast and that does not fail us this week either. Susan Earnshaw (Liz Ferber - Max's secretary), Jacqueline Gilbride (Harriet Telligan - the estranged wife), David Martin (Jeff Seago - the golf ace), John Goodrum (Max Telligan), Andrew Fettes (Vincent Crane), David Callister (Lloyd Mitchell), Jeremy Lloyd-Thomas (Graham Digby), Emma Vickery(Connie Palmer - Seago's partner), Charlie Henderson- Howat (Rose).
Directed by Karen Henson, the play is nicely paced and keeps you guessing right up to the end, although there are clues to the guilty party/parties dropped as the play unravels.
The set, designed by Geoff Gilder, is typical of the 1980's, where the play is set as are the costumes, also by Geoff.
Everything is timed to perfection with the lighting design by Michael Donoghue and sound design by David Giltbrook. The scene changes are assisted by the closing of the curtains with musical accompaniment to allow the stage managers to rearrange the stage and to dispose of the bodies, and gives the audience to quickly compare notes as to who is behind this cleverly written plot. Well it is Francis Durbridge after all!
Wonderfully entertaining, and for once I got close to guessing who was behind it all, but not until close to the end.
“A Touch Of Danger” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 11 August 2018.

Monday, 6 August 2018

“This Is Elvis”
Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
I, like any Elvis fan, can remember precisely where I was and what I was doing when I heard of the death of The King of Rock n Roll. I never had the privilege to see the man live. This show is as close as you will get to that event.
Ok let’s get this out there to start with. This is not an Elvis tribute act.
Stephen Michaels has been performing Elvis’ songs for many years now. He started as a three piece rockabilly group performing the songs Elvis recorded for the Sun Record label. This trio grew to a 14 piece ensemble of musicians and singers and toured Canada, United States and Australia.
The tour has now hit the UK and Nottingham. Steve has performed with several of Elvis’ original band and singers, so this man has been accepted by the people who worked alongside and knew the king of Rock n Roll.
This production celebrates 50 years since the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special aired on TV and includes so many of The king’s biggest hits, “Trouble”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Hound Dog”, “Love Me Tender”, “All Shook Up”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “One Night”, “It’s Now or Never”, “Are you Lonesome Tonight?”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, “In The Ghetto”, “Suspicious Minds”, “American Trilogy”, “Just Can’t Help Believing” and many more.
The first act we see Elvis's lead up to this massive event; an event that brought the fear and the nerves from The King, but an event that showed what an incredible performer the man was.
As an Elvis fan I was a little unsure just how much Stephen Micheals would look like Elvis and how close to the Elvis sound he would get.
I need not have been so sceptical because within just a few minutes of being on stage, Stephen Michaels was Elvis Presley. Closing my eyes I could imagine the man on stage was Elvis. He sounded like Elvis and he has an uncanny resemblance to him also.
I say that this show is not a tribute to Elvis and in my mind, that is true. Stephen Michaels is not just an actor placed in a musical to portray The King. He has a natural air about him which makes watching Stephen magnetic to watch. the more you watch and listen, the more you realise that Stephen Michaels is an Elvis fan and he loves the music, and that adoration to the man he becomes on stage is as hypnotic as I can only imagine being able to see Elvis on stage might have been.
Elvis could sing anything, gospel, blues, rock n roll, ballads, country, disco and he made every song his own, even his version of "Old MacDonald Had A Farm". Elvis' nuances and the way he played with the notes, just like an experienced jazz singer, were all noted and presented on stage.
For one who never had the chance to see the real thing, this is the closest I'm ever going to get, and I left the theatre happy that I got to see what a great performer of songs the man was, even if it was from someone who obviously loved the man and his music as much as myself.
Must not forget to mention though that this show also boasts an equally amazing band and backing singers, recreating that special sound.
“This Is Elvis” is at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall” until Saturday 11 August 2018.A must for any fan of great music.