Thursday, 23 May 2019

"Where's My Brolly"
Clarendon College
How many ways can you think of to utilise an umbrella? Well once your mind starts to wander, the sky's the limit, especially in the mind of Chris Mercer. This is Chris's final play as part of his degree course at Clarendon and includes four females in the performance.
The stage is set with a massive fishing umbrella on the floor with a vast array of multi sized and multi coloured umbrellas dangling from the roof. Slowly from beneath the big umbrella, like a plant putting out roots, several other umbrellas emerge and open. This builds into the first of many scenes with the theme on umbrellas.
There are themes based upon Shakespeare, James Bond, Star Wars, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hitchcock's "Psycho", The Charleston and song and dance, Origami and a sketch that reminded me of a comedy piece called "Rhubarb" where the only word uttered was "Rhubarb"; in this sketch, only the word "umbrella" was used which also incorporated a well known Scottish song and a Bee Gees classic.
As you can tell this performance is quite off the wall but very entertaining. Aside from the above there was also some lovely poetic moments with splashes of contemporary dance and some nice shadow effects
So if you like a varied amount of umbrellas, from cocktail brollies through parasols to automatic brollies, then this is the one for you.
There is one more chance to catch this clever and comical performance at Clarendon College, tomorrow - Friday - at 1.30pm.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

“Our House” by People’s Theatre Company
Nottingham Arts Theatre
“Our House” also known as the Madness Musical, has a soundtrack made up of the songs of ska/pop band Madness.
"Our House" follows the story of London lad Joe Casey. On the night of his sixteenth birthday, an over-excited Joe takes Sarah, the girl of his dreams, out for a romantic evening. On a whim, he breaks into a new building development near his house to show Sarah the view over north London. When the police come, Joe faces a tough decision: to run, or give himself up. It is at this point that the story splits in two as we follow the fortunes, and misfortunes, of Good Joe and Bad Joe.
Harry Ilyk (Joe Casey) is perfectly cast as he is just a little older than the character and has the boundless energy of a baby tigger on Duracell batteries - on and off stage - and you definitely need that energy with this character.
There are many quick changes - the quickest being just four seconds - from good to bad Joe, and you'd think that with all the racing around and costume changes, it may affect his singing! Nah mate, not a bit. His singing is strong and you can hear every word that he sings.
This is his first leading role, as far as I can recall and he proves that he is a credible leading song and dance man.
Jeri Taylor (Kath Casey) also has a first here because this is her first stage role in musical theatre, well since school, and again a perfectly cast choice. Her soft lilting Irish accent - for the role - is unwavering and lovely to hear. Being a seasoned singer, her vocals are clear and well projected. I hope that this musical theatre debut will now pave the way for many more roles for Jeri. Oh and when "Blood Brothers" is released for local theatre to do, I can't think of anyone better than the part of Mrs Johnstone than Jeri.
Joseph Smith (Emmo) and John Gill (Lewis) probve that great things do come in pairs. The comedy friends of Joe Casey are a wonderful pairing who, at times quite literally, bounce off of each other.They get the party started, especially at the opening of the second act.
Lucie Conroy (Sarah) continues the perfection in casting as Joe's girlfriend. A lovely singing voice, both solo and in duets like "It Must Be Love" with Harry and "NW5" with Joe's Dad.
Mike Bulford (Dad), and I don't think I'm giving too much away here, but Dad is not around anymore for Kath or Joe, but he appears quite ghost-like throughout, watching over Joe.
Bertie Black (Reecey) makes his People’s Theatre Company debut in this role. I have seen Bertie in various theatre productions in the past and I know that he brings a certain energy to every role he performs; and this is no different. You can just tell that he is one of the not so good characters, not a real nasty, but erring on the side of not being a good influence on Joe. His giggling, due to his naughty Reecey thoughts, makes us giggle along with him, but only because he is infectious.
Emme Gunn (Angie) also makes her PTC debut as well as her first singing and dancing appearance since her school days. Paige Shaw (Billie) completes the pairing of Sarah's friends, and I love both of their, almost chavvy-like characters. They're cheeky and a lot of fun.
Cliff Hart (Mr Pressman) gets to play the real baddie of this piece, wanting to tear down the Casey's home to make way for his own development with not a thought for whoever gets in his way. A small but meaty role.
Alex Huntley (Callum) plays the possible beau to Sarah when she gets to college, but that all depends on which Joe, good or bad, prevails! Alex gets to play yet another role for the ladies as previously he has played the arrogant Gaston in "Beauty & The Beast"and the UPS guy in "Legally Blonde", In this role ladies, you only get to see his legs in a kilt!
I mentioned energy earlier and this ensemble bring even more energy with several of the ensemble doubling up for various roles. This large ensemble make the dance routines a joy to watch. You can't beat a good sized ensemble for a big dance break and the choreography in this play is wonderful, but then I expected it to be as the Choreographer is Amy Rogers-Gee, she never fails me.
Directed by Chris Teasdale, who also makes several cameo appearances throughout, including ladies, one in a string vest! Alex's legs in a kilt and Chris' string vest, the tickets will be flying off the shelves with promises like these. Seriously though, Chris has been Directing and performing in productions for quite a few years now and if anyone knows how to get it right, Chris does.
The music of Madness is infectiously catchy and the band under the musical direction of David Hails and Sam Griffiths ensures that from the very first note, your toes are tapping and they get your hands a clapping, and if you're looking for good sax, then you won't be disappointed here!
The comedy is well timed and there are some wonderful comic lines, my favourite being about girls and chocolate biscuits - I know I have you guessing now, so go see what I mean. The energy is non stop, the songs, apart from one were all written by Madness, so that says everything about the fun you'll have at this show. The cast have put a tremendous amount of hard work into this show, and it really shows and it's really paid off.
The couple of sound issues I know will be rectified after this first night, they always are, but nothing could take the happiness I felt as I left the theatre away. It makes you feel like doing a Gene Kelly as in "Singing In The Rain" down the street after seeing this wonderfully happy, feel good show, so go get your tickets now!
Wouldn't it be an embarrassment to have missed out on this this fun house of a musical?
“Our House” is at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 25 May.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.
Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage after being abandoned by her real parents. Her luck soon changes when she’s chosen to spend Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. Meanwhile, the spiteful owner of the orphan’s home, Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family…
Starring Craig Revel-Horwood as Miss Hannigan, this is the first time that I have seen a man play Miss Hannigan, but you know what, I enjoyed this performance such a lot, for a couple of reasons.
Craig is a seasoned performer where playing a woman is concerned and that shows as he looked so comfortable in the role. His facial expressions, which come with performing in panto I suspect, show exactly what Miss Hannigan thinks of the girls.
Now I've seen several Miss Hannigan's but finally we get one who got the Noo Yoik/Brooklyn/Jewish accent spot on. I knew previously that he has a really good voice, so that didn't come as a surprise, and the dancing goes without saying was going to be top quality. I also know that his acting is really good, all you have to do is watch him on "Strictly". Possibly the best Miss Hannigan I've seen.
Freya Yates, as Annie, was everything you'd want from an "Annie". She was confident, sang with gusto and had stage presence.
The orphan girl actors show what wonderfully talented young actors/dancers/singers they are, and as an ensemble group worked as one. When the onus is on the ensemble to open the show, you have to have great confidence in what you do and these girls oozed confidence. Their dancing was insanely energetic, and at times acrobatic, whcih made them an exciting watch.
Carolyn Maitland (Grace Maitland), Alex Bourne (Daddy Warbucks), Richard Meek (Rooster) and Jenny Gayler (Lily) all gave excellent performances.
Colin Richmond has designed the set and costumes, and again, every time I see "Annie" these are different so it's like watching the show for the first time, every time.
Choreographed by Nick Winston, it again felt like I was watching a new show as the dancing was fresh and really exciting with sections that I couldn't recall from past productions.
Director, Nikolai Foster seems to have brought a whole new sheen to this production, and the pace is often breath-taking.
Apart from the song that everyone associates with "Annie", "Tomorrow", there are several others that will have you earwormed. The delicate "Maybe", the rebellious "Hard Knock Life", the glorious "Little Girls", the Broadway jazz hands, high kicking "Easy Street", the fun "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" and so many more make this musical soundtrack so memorable. A soundtrack brought to glittery life by Musical Director Daniel Griffin.
It's one of those musicals where you love the good guys, but also quite like the bad guys as well, almost like a panto; well it is set at Christmas!
In the words of one of its' stars, the show is FAB-U-LOUS and a 10 from me, daaaahlings.
“Annie” is at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 25 May

Saturday, 18 May 2019

“Things I Know To Be True” by Andrew Bovell
Nottingham New Theatre
This is going to be the hardest review I've had to write for a long time. Not because I didn't enjoy, the opposite in fact, but this is one play that really emotionally affected me, and whatever I write will not come near to the feelings this cast and the script made me feel. I emotionally bought into the performances and story.
As a parent, receiving a phone call late at night always makes you think the worst. This is the starting point and the ending in this play, but the call the Price family received was not one they had expected to get.Especially from the story leading up to that call.
“Things I Know To Be True” follows the story and the many struggles of the Price Family.
Rosie had met a man while on a gap year, only for him to up and leave her. Forcing her to eventually return to Australia. Rosie’s elder sister Pip has left her husband and kids to go and live in Vancouver. Mother Fran disapproves, especially as she discovers that Pip had been cheating. Pip then writes to Fran, connecting with her after a history of a mentally abusive childhood.
The second child, Mark, reveals that he wants to live as a woman. He reveals that he wishes to move to Sydney to begin hormonal therapy. Later in the play we see Mark as Mia.
Another sub-plot is that Fran had been saving around $250,000 as a get-out fund for her relationship with Bob, but there’s a change of plan there as well.
The final sub-plot involves the younger son, Ben and his father Bob, and how Ben managed to afford a flashy European car. Later in the play we discover just how Ben managed to afford the car and his lifestyle.
It sounds like the plot of a soap opera but the emotion invested in these characters by the cast make this drama so intent that I'd have been happy to forego the intermission and carry straight through.
The cast of six all had there own time to feature which blended so well into the intertwining stories of the others.
Jack Linley, who played Bob, the father. In many ways Bob reminded me of myself with his temperament, but when his emotions bubbled over, you really felt an aching in your heart for him. It's difficult to play a man in your sixties when you're about forty years younger but Jack captured the physicality well.
Isabelle Cadwallader, played Fran, the mother. Like all the cast that I'd seen previously, this performance exceeded everything I'd seen before from these actors. Fran could be seen as a hard nosed matriarch, but then came the glimpses of the softer side. the final ten minutes of this play, involving Fran was pure heartbreak.
Emily Edmond, played Pip, and as a debut performance for the NNT, Emily delivered an emotionally laden speech as to why she had to split with her husband. You would never had guessed this was her first with the group as the chemistry between all the cast was so believable. I imagine that Emily will have acted before because of the confidence shown.
Boo Jackson was Rosie and she got to deliver the first full speech, and this speech was like poetry, it painted a beautifully descriptive picture of the reason why she returned home. The change from elation to heartache was swift and felt like a slap to the face.
Ollie Binns played Ben and he too got to deliver an emotive description of how he paid for the car and lifestyle, and the breakdown that followed was not a half-hearted performance. The relationship between both parents and Ben at this point of the play proved pivotal in all three roles.
Last, but by no means least is Daniel McVey who played Mark/Mia. I've seen Daniel in several plays at NNT but this role just showed what a mature actor he is. Mark's speech just before Act One came to a close really got to me and I actually found myself getting quite emotional. He pushed my emotions further than any character or play I can remember seeing before.
As I said at the start, no words I could put down will fully say how I felt many times during this play, and Mark's speech in Act One and the start of Act Two just tipped me over, as did Ben's breakdown speech and the end scenes with Bob and Fran's final story.
Co Directed by Dan Morris and Matteo Bagaini, I do not know how you pair did this but you really know what buttons to push to get reactions from an audience. You brought out the mature acting side of all of these amazing actors.
There were some lovely simple but effective shadow play and some really nice choreographed pieces (Ellie Roberts).
The design of the set (Francesca Ashby) was simple and effective with only a few props, until the end scene when the shadow curtain was dropped and the view of Bob's garden, which previously had only been seen in silhouette was revealed.
The lighting design was used to great effect for the silhouette work, thanks to Emma Barber, and the spotlit start and finish.
A lot of technical work was involved to produce this play and Sam Andre-Paul was responsible for this area.
Andrew Bovell has written an incredibly emotive piece of work and this brilliant cast and crew have done the script and author a great credit. Not only that but you managed to make my eyes leak. Something that not even "Blood Brothers" or "Bare - A Pop Opera" managed to do.
Unfortunately Saturday was the last day to see this beautiful piece of theatre, but thank you NNT for introducing me to this one. It's a play and performance that I will not forget.

Friday, 17 May 2019

“Be My Baby” by Prospect Players
Bonington Players
Written by local playwright Amanda Whittington, this play is all about 19 year old Mary Adams who has been placed in a religious mother-baby home by her mother because in the 1960’s it was heavily frowned upon for an unmarried girl to fall pregnant as this would bring shame on the family.
This meant that these girls had to hide their children and were not allowed out in public as they would be scorned for their states. These girls were laughed at, made inferior and were simply not accepted by society, and the aim of these homes was to keep them out of the public eye.
Other pregnant girls staying at the home are Queenie, Norma and Dolores. Queenie is a street-smart girl with a past and also dreams of being a singer, Dolores is a dreamer whilst Norma is not very bright. Each of them is forced to come to terms with their pregnancy, and through the time that they spend at the home, not only do they learn a little bit about pregnancy but the four girls also become great friends, bonding over songs by The Ronettes and The Dixie Cups.
This play had more of an effect on me than I had expected it to have. Being a parent I could not imagine being without my kids, but having to hand your child over minutes after giving birth seems unthinkable. Not only that but the ignorance of this process is just as heart-breaking as the knowledge of the procedure with the girls.
Beverley Graham (Mrs Adams) is really hard-faced, and unfeeling as the mother who knew what was needed to keep shame away from the family home, even lying to her husband as to where Mary was.
Fiona Shore (Mary) gave a really heart-felt performance and the final scenes were really emotional.
Nicola Hawes (Dolores) is a real friend in need with Norma.Her caring and protective calm character indicates that Dolores would be a lovely mother one day.
Paula Smith (Norma) gives some really emotional performances. Her naivety and belief that she would be on her way to hell just made you want to give her a hug. In the second act her relentless searching for her newly born son just breaks the hardest of hearts.
Helen Foster (Queenie) puts up a good front; hard as nails and streetwise, but that cover is blown in the second part of the play and we see why she has created this protective shield. She also has a lovely voice.
The actors have captured the physicality well, and while I know not if all of the actors have experienced the joy of childbirh, as well as all the painful aches and pains of the build up, they all looked the part and presented the physical discomfort of their characters with realism..
Eileen Frier-Kelsey (Matron) presented a softer Matron than I had expected, but that is no criticism because, while being stern when she needed to be, you could tell that she had a job to do, but she also was a mother figure who just wanted what was best for the girls. You get the feeling that she had a back story that she herself protected, and only once did we see a slight glimpse of her history.
From the opening scene you had a feel of the early sixties with the props, and the costumes, especially Matron's, and it made me think of TV shows like "The Royal", "Call the Midwife" etc, so straight away you were whisked back to that era.
The music also helped place you back in the days of the girl group greats, The Dixie Cups, The Ronettes, Bob B Soxx and The Blue Jeans, Dusty Springfield, The Supremes, The Shirelles etc. A brilliant soundtrack which helped with the scene changes.
The set was split into Matron's Office, the laundry and the girl's dormitory, and the lighting helped spotlight, if you'll pardon the pun, the three areas. This also meant that the need for scenery was not paramount, and for me this wasn't needed due to the strong acting, story and lighting design.The lighting was courtesy of Alan Wilson and the Bonington Theatre crew, as was the sound.
Directed by Liz Hagan, she squeezed every bit of emotion from this play, and the actors, and also gave the audience, whatever age, something to think about, making us realise just how far we've come and how lucky we are to have a completely different way of life in the UK. Other countries though have not moved on as far as we have over here.
Amanda Whittington has created characters who have colour, and the local siting of these characters, and the story, make us feel that we are part of the community that the play is set in.
The emotional aspect is evident, but there's also a lot of humour in this play, and warmth as the girls, from different backgrounds really bond and look after each other.
“Be My Baby” is at the Bonington Theatre, Arnold until Saturday 18 May.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

“Seussical – The Musical” by Greasepaint Productions
Loughborough Town Hall
This production was only the second time that I have seen this musical, the first being performed by a younger theatre group.
The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many "thinks." Horton faces a double challenge--not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must also guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird.
Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. The powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.
Now, that's the story and I was thinking on the bus ride back from Loughborough that this review would either be a very short one, or a very long one. Well, I never have done short!
I was thinking of a seven letter word, maybe a ten letter word that would describe tonight. "Perfect" or "Perfection"? I can't make up my mind.
I have had the pleasure of seeing some pretty amazing pieces of theatre of late but this has to be my favourite of the year so far, no disrespect to any of the other amazing shows I've seen this year. It touched every base and ticked all my boxes. Let me tell you why......
From start to finish this is the most colourful of musicals I've seen. I've seen less impressive and colourful light shows in nightclubs. It is an explosion of colour. A 100% success for Lighting Designer James Cladingboel.
It's a children's story that will keep any age transfixed to that stage. I at times found my jaw dropping open like a child confronted by all their favourite sweets in a candy shop, and discovering everything was free.
There's fluorescent under water sea creatures in the sea scenes, pole walkers, roller skating, lighting effects that made the stairs on stage seem to wobble, actors coming in from all directions, dry ice,incredible costumes, wigs and make up, non-stop songs, laugh out loud comedy, water pistol fun, shadow play. I did notice one thing though that was missing; a kitchen sink. Come on, this musical has everything.
This is one hell of an energetic show and not least where the dancing is concerned. This cast must lose pounds every night from the amazing choreography by Kat Pledger. There are all styles of dance and I loved the jive sequence where the kicks and flicks were so sharp you could have sliced your bread with them. Oh and then there's the Latin section, and with those costumes. As one dance expert would say A MAY ZING dahlings!
The ensemble during these choreographed pieces were out of this world; I really have been to heaven and back tonight, not just Loughborough!
The orchestra, under the musical direction of James Stevens was just the finest I've heard, and so many musical styles, they were on the go all night, so you can only imagine how hard they worked. Plus the sound quality was perfect thanks to Rob Temperton.
This size of musical, I can only imagine is not the easiest job in the world for the Director, but Liam Patrick absolutely excelled himself. A mammoth task for one so young.
The set design was absolutely stunning, as well as quite complex from where I sat. Credit goes to Steve Pledger, Ash Moulton and Duncan Gadsby.
With all of these bodies and various set changes going on, there are a pair of unsung heroes back stage in the guises of the stage managers, Chris Marshall and Lyndsey Bloomfield.
And of course not forgetting the Production manager, James Nelson.
Gareth Wynne (Horton the Elephant), Jonny Painting (The Cat In The Hat), Sophie Draycott (Gertrude McFuzz), Lucy Woodcock-Tarry (Mayzie LaBird),Emma Healey, Alix Stevens and Hannah Wolden (Bird Girls),Jade Waltham(General Genghis Kahn Scmitz) and Ian Dean (Vlad Vladikoff) all just amazing and thoroughly entertaining.
Toni Brattle ( The Sour Kangaroo) has a wonderful voice whihc really made me sit up and listen and Layla (Baby Kangaroo) in last night's production was mega cute and has loads of sass about her. Reya also plays Baby Kangaroo in alternate shows.
There are also two young actors playing Jojo. Poppy and Theo. I saw Theo on Thursday night and WOW! what confidence he has and does not seem at all phased by being on stage with these seasoned actors, in fact none of the kids in the show do, they just get on with it in a very professional manner. You'd be fooled into thinking these youngsters are flown in from a London stage school they are that good.
The mischievous Wickersham Brothers are played by Joe HarrisonOllie Lewin,Scött Tomkins and Bethany Brotherhood. They are the bad boys of this musical with bomber jackets and chunky gold chains with some cool dance moves. just as well they are all excellent dancers!
Mr and Mrs Mayor are played by Liam Patrick and Lottie Heimes respectively.
It was great for everyone who stayed in the auditorium in the interval as they were entertained by The Cat (Jonny Painting) who took selfies with the kids and generally messed around with the audience, climbing over seats, just like his character's name sake. This is the sort of thing that keeps the younger members of the audience coming back for more and encourages their love for theatre.
Even after the show, the cast were in the theatre foyer to meet the kids, and adults and have more photos taken and to chat with them. I can guarantee that there were many young kids who go home very happy and tell all of their friends about the night they had at the theatre.
If ever there was a cure of the blues, then this show is that. If the NHS could prescribe a medicine for feeling down, then this production would cure all in just two hours flat.
It's just utter fun at breakneck speed. I should really apologise to anyone sat right behind me though because when I rose to give the cast a standing ovation - which they richly deserved - I then remained on my feet as the cast then sang a closing number, clapping away, only to realise that only one other person was doing the same thing. I was so lost in this magical show and a production that is worthy of any professional West End version.
You do need to book your tickets for this. DO NOT LET THIS PRODUCTION PASS YOU BY!!!! And if you feel that maybe I have gone a little bit over the top, go see the show and prove me wrong.
“Seussical The Musical” is at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 18 May.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

“Vicar Of Dibley” by Beeston Players
Round Hill School Beeston
This stage play by Ian Gower and Paul carpenter has been adapted from the original TV series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, this is a selection of scenes from the TV programme segued together, starting from Geraldine's arrival to her relocation to Liverpool.
Being a massive fan of the TV series, I instantly recognised the scenes and found myself reciting the lines in my head as they were being played out before my eyes.
We even became guests at Alice and Hugo's wedding using the gap between the sets of seats as the church aisle.
Nicola Adkin (Geraldine Granger) really channelled Dawn French, complete with Geraldine's wig, and even sounded a bit like Dawn French.
Sue Frost (Alice Tinker) was joyful to watch as the lovelorn puppy-dog of a vester, lusting after Hugo.Emma Chambers, who played Tinker in the BBC sit com was always one of my favourites wither naive and exuberant disposition, and Sue captured these qualities wonderfully. And I loved the fact that the audience showed signs of disapproval when David Horton's character berated her to Hugo.
Paul Langston (David Horton) as with the other actors, really got under the skin of the characters and while not looking similar to the TV character, you would have been able to match the recognisable characters. Wonderfully up himself, Horton not Paul, and a lovely softening of the character towards the end of the play.
Gary Frost (Hugo Horton) matched the soppiness of Hugo Horton perfectly and who else would be able to play opposite Sue as Alice but Gary?
Ian Greatorex (Frank Pickle), complete with Frank Pickle's trademark bow-tie is another who you'd recognise from the mannerisms and speech to be Frank.
Tom Jenkins (Owen Newitt) had his share of comic lines along with many un-PC "caveman" comments which again teased intakes of breath from some of the audience, but all delivered in the best possible taste.
Kevin Fairbrother (Jim Trott) did actually pay quite a resemblance to the TV character and I think this was because Kevin captured the physicality of the TV character as well as that trademark "no no no no no no no no YES" impediment that we all love with Jim.
The hair and make up for Jim also created the Jim image - or Jimage - and was the work of Maxine Taylor.
Alison Willams (Letitia Cropley) - and up to a couple of weeks ago I didn't realise that this character's name was Letitia. The trademark culinary concoctions were evident throughout, as well as the trademark hats that Letitia wore.
Karen Livesey, who also produced the show, and Lloyd Delderfield made cameos as the two schoolkids, Katie and Archie, as well as Sarah Murray close to the end of the play.
Directed by Lloyd Delderfield, not a foot was placed wrong. The segues of the scenes done brilliantly by a change of organ music, which I loved, I must get that album for my collection, as well as simple black outs and fade ups. Well paced, simple but very effective changes.
I mentioned the lighting and this was the work of Fiona Maxwell and Jazz Collins. Going hand in hand with the lighting design is the sound design and effects, courtesy of Sam Williams.
A nice split set with Geraldine's front room and the Church Hall, where all the meetings took place, cleverly designed by Sam Williams and Mark Perez.
I've been enjoying the Beeston Players for a few years now but I've not heard the same audience reaction that I experienced at the close of this show before. The final bows were greeted with well deserved enthusiastic clapping and cheering.
From the first few minutes of the play's opening scenes, a smile broke on my face which did not leave until I left the building.
The front of house staff are as welcoming and friendly as ever.
“The Vicar Of Dibley” is at Round Hill School in Beeston until Saturday 18 May’s matinee performance.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

“Forgetfulness Therapy” by Emma Collingwood
Nottingham New Theatre
Have you ever wanted to skip the mourning process, well in this play, technology has made that possible. In fact via Forgetfulness Therapy you can simply forget anyone and anything.
A glimpse into the future or some dark secret right now? Who can tell? This story gives nothing away as to when it is set but leaves this for the watcher to decide.
This could be a frightening option or could give release from a traumatic past event, and I can see the pros and cons for this therapy. Should this kind of therapy ever exist, or exists!
Dot is trying to eradicate all memories of her late husband, Luca and ropes in a reluctant sister-in-law, Margot, but Margot doesn’t buy into this and wants to make sure that Dot remembers Luca forever, But are there other reasons as to why Dot wants to forget her late husband? And as the story unfolds, we see there is also a darker reason as to why Margot is so against Dot receiving this therapy.
A new piece of theatre,and I love it when I don't know where a story is going, but in this story, with a series of flashback scenes, you discover the whole story.
It's very modern sci-fi with this possible process and also the idea of robot companion dating via an app blur the edges of the present and the future.
Esther Townsend plays Dot, and you can almost see regret in her character's eyes but is adamant that she is going to carry on with this therapy. There was a really sweet section where Dot and Luca were kids which then led to their later meeting at a party, and subsequently rolled into their wedding dance, Etta James' "At Last", choreographed by Caitlin Clancy.
Sofia Bassani is Margot, Dot's sister-in-law, and an equally interesting character, especially when we discover the reason why Margot is so against Dot's therapy.
Laura Finckh plays Dr Walshe who is the doctor who is providing this forgetfulness therapy. A very convincing character who succeeds with empathy and also a wry line in comedy.
Nicholas Landon plays Luca, the deceased husband. His story is told in the flashbacks, but he also has some secrets that would have died with him if not for one person.......
Mathilda, who is Dot's mother and the key to unravelling the past of the three family members. Mathilda is played by Natalia Gonzalez-Morales and this is a powerful debut for Natalia with NNT.
Co-Directed by Emma Collingwood and Sally Nesbitt, and produced by Emily Grote, I loved how they kept the big reveal as such a jaw dropping secret. Something I for one did not see coming at all. You knew that something was not quite all together but not knowing what the missing link was, made this one of those bolt from the blue moments.
Joe Strickland's Lighting Design separated the scenes simply but effectively and also gave a sci-fi feel to the end scene.
A good sound design by Martin Tomlinson created that world outside the performing space, but there were just a couple of slightly late sound cues but nothing to worry about.
I always watch for little details and so many local theatre and professional productions, for me, often fall down on realism. Just small things like having a meal and there being no food on the plate or having a drink and no drink in the glass. I was so chuffed to see that when hot drinks were made, kettles were boiled and an actual drink was made, with real tea. Little things make all the difference so thanks for looking after the little things which added to the realism of this piece of theatre.
I'm so glad that I was able to get to see this play on it's last night. A night that found the New Theatre turning away people wanting to see it due to it being sold out.