Thursday, 30 May 2019

“Urinetown” by Beeston Musical Theatre Group
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton
The idea for this musical came about when writer Greg Kotis encountered a pay per use toilet while in Europe and began writing the book shortly after.
“Urinetown” is a social and political satire set in a fictional future where a terrible 20-year drought has crippled the city’s water supplies. Water is so scarce that the government enforces a ban on all private toilets in an effort to control water consumption.
The citizens must now use the public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company (UGC) – a private malevolent corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell. Citizens who try to take the pee by bypassing the peeing-fee by relieving themselves in the bushes risk being taken away to “Urinetown”, a mysterious place where many have been sent but no one ever returns.
The oppressed masses huddle in line at the poorest, filthiest urinal in town, Public Amenity #9, which is run by the rigid, harshly authoritarian Penelope Pennywise and her assistant, dashing young rebel Bobby Strong. With fee increases in the pipeline, the poor rise up under the leadership of Bobby to fight the tyrannical regime for the right to make the public amenities free for all to use.
Will Bobby succeed? Only one way to find out, dear reader!!
Christopher Collington (Bobby Strong) plays the hero of the hour, and as soon as I heard that Chris was to play Bobby, I knew that this role was well filled because Bobby is an unconventional hero and Chris plays unconventional so well - believe me this is a compliment. His vocals are spot on and he has a natural comedy timing which is what this role depends upon
Claire Rybicki (Little Sally) brings out the little girl in this role, complete with teddy bear. Not only playing the youngest role in the musical but also co narrator with Officer Lockstock, one of the two police officers, along with Officer Barrel, employed to police the village and escort any rebels to the mysterious Urinetown.
Chris Bryan (Lockstock) and Abby Riddell (Barrel) make a fine pairing with Chris's vocals seeming ever more powerful with every show I see him in. Abby is a fine pairing in the comedy stakes. Lockstock and this one smokin' Barrel, once again, perfectly cast.
Simon Owen (Caldwell B Cladwell) gets to play a baddie as the owner of Urine Good Company (UGC) who is in charge of the pay per pee. Great comedy role and Simon also gets to show off some fine vocals at the same time.
Laura Such (Hope Gladwell) plays the daughter who also manages to capture the heart of Bobby. A wonderful gospel number "I See A River" almost at the end of Act Two provides a vehicle for Laura's soaring and soulful vocals.
Talking of amazing vocal skills, Steph Gray-Blest (Penelope Pennywise) blew the roof off of the Duchess with hers. She has such power and an incredible range to her voice.
Andy Bulmer (Mr McQueen), Lottie Valks (Soupy Sue), Josh Birchall (Hot Blades Harry/Joseph), Rob Charles (Tiny Tom),
Hollie Smith (Little Becky Two Shoes), Carrie-Anne Corner (Josephine ”Old Ma” Strong), John Hand (Senator Flipp), Emily Owen (Billy Boy Bill),Victoria Appleton (Mrs Millennium), Christine Walton (Dr Billeaux), Lucy CastleCharlotte HowarthMina Machin, Emily Owen played the rebels and Jane CotteeRachel Maddison, Ruth Maddison and Emma Weir played Caldwell's staff. The script is very generous to all of the above characters as they all have their own moments within the musical.
You can see that this was quite a big production.
I'd seen "Urinetown" before so knew what fun the show was and what a varied soundtrack it has.
For someone who loves the theatre as I do, I was able to spot the nods to other big musicals like "Les Mis", "West Side Story", "Fiddler On the Roof", "Into The Woods" etc with the style of the songs.
A fairly simple but clever set design which meant that the stage crew could very easily transfer Public Aminity #9 into Cladwell's office within seconds.
Wonderful Lighting Design by Dave Martin and Laura Holding, which also was worked into a gag that I couldn't remember being there when I last saw the show, or was it just Mr Collington ad libbing the situation, One will never know!
I have one issue with the sound. I thought that in certain parts, the band swamped some of the vocals, mainly at the start of the second act, but for the main, the sound was really clear and Tom Olding did a really good job with it.
The band, this time back in front of the stage were as usual excellent, under the Musical Direction of Morris Fisher, but I wonder if they had not been in front of the stage where the actors had to sing over them, would the sound issue occurred?
The soundtrack, as I mentioned is a varied one and I especially love "Run Freedom Run", the aforementioned gospelly "I See A River" and the comedy of "Don't Be The Bunny".
The choreography by Jodie Cresdee was A MAY ZINGLY BRILLIANT. the nods to "West Side Story" in some of the routines were just awesome and "Don't Be the Bunny" was just joyous.
Directed by Beth Yearsley, she made sure that all the pacing was right where it should have been, especially with the comedy. Beth has known this cast for some years now and she knows what she can expect from them all and she gets the best from everyone on that stage.
"Urinetown" is one of those Marmite musicals. I hate Marmite but I love this musical and when you have a cast and crew who know exactly how to produce and present not only musical theatre but comedy musical theatre as BMTG do, you can be confident of an excellent night out.
I know that these guys are very serious when it comes to entertainment. This musical takes the p*ss out of itself as it constantly reminds the audience that it is just a musical, but it also succeeds in sending out a serious message about preservation, which may get lost in the entertainment, but it will be embedded in your brain, long after you leave the theatre, complete with the earworm songs from the soundtrack.
Do not be put off by the title, as Little Sally comments on the title it's not the most alluring title for a musical, but it is a great slab of musical theatre entertainment. they all may not live happily ever after but they will now all be able "to pee whenever they like, as much as they like, for as long as they like, and with whomever they like" Amen to that!
“Urinetown” is at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton until Saturday 1 June.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

“The Stepmother” by Githa Sowerby
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre
Sowerby is best known for penning the novel, Rutherford and Son. In this play we first meet her heroine, Lois, when she is a 19-year-old who has inherited a small fortune from an elderly companion.
Ten years down the line we discover Lois is married to her benefactor’s brother, Eustace, who is chiefly interested in her money. By now, aside from being stepmother to Eustace’s teenage daughters, Lois is supporting the family by running her own fashion business.
When, however, Lois demands the return of her original capital to finance a dowry for one of her stepdaughters, she is confronted by the depths of Eustace’s chicanery and by her own legal powerlessness.
Abused and exploited by her husband, Lois had briefly sought consolation in the arms of an adoring neighbour, Peter Holland. Eustace shamelessly exploits this fact and suggests that his wife’s extramarital fling far outweighs, in the moral scheme of things, his own financial misdemeanours.
Grace Eden (Lois Reph) goes from a weepy 19 year old to the confident 29 year old business woman expressing her independence, something that, in the days of the 1920's was practically unheard of. A wonderful array of emotions with this role; a role that Grace looked so comfortable with; a role that had me hooked on her every word.
Likewise with Robert Goll (Eustace Gaydon). I've seen Rob play many roles over the years from panto to Shakespeare and he never fails to incite emotive reactions from the audience. This role sees Rob as a sneaky, greedy, manipulative egotist, and I hate to say that he plays it so well, but he does and of course, this is down to his extensive acting talents, because a nicer man you would be hard pushed to find.
The elderly lady I sat behind didn't hold back about her thoughts about Eustace, and I love that Rob can make the audience member feel this way, because it shows that they have bought into the character, and you need to make the audience believe the character to evoke that sort of reaction.
The relationship between these two leads was completely believable, and was like sitting in on a masterclass of acting. I always feel comfortable watching these two work because I know just how good they are when on stage.
Amanda Hodgson (Charlotte Gaydon) plays Eustace, and the late Fanny's Aunt. Only a small part but a lovely cameo.
Olivia Taylor (Betty Gaydon) and Emily Shillan (Monica Gaydon) again made for a natural pairing as the two sisters. Monica being the more confident and grown up, but Charlotte, in Act Two really came into her own when she confronted Eustace.
Marie Gibbons (Mary) was the oft put upon maid who was close to Charlotte, as we saw at the start of the play.
Matthew Clapp (Peter Holland) really made me change my initial thought of this character, because to start with he seemed to be a really nice bloke, but as the story unravelled, you came to realise that he was not quite the "nice bloke" he was first portrayed. Loved the fiery interplay between Holland and Eustace in Act Two. Almost like two gazelles locking horns, but without the physical aggression.
Rupert Butt (Mr Bennett), again a minor role but vital to the plot, and again showing just how controlling the male of the species of this era could be.
Ciaran Stones (Cyril Bennett) was just made for this role. I've not seen Ciaran on stage for a while, so it was nice to see him tread the boards again. He has matured in every way since the last thing I'd seen him in, and this play highlighted that maturity. Ciaran's voice and facial expressions as Bennett junior fitted so well with the part, it was if it had been written for him. Nice to have you back!
Linda Croston (Mrs Geddes) brought a lovely Scottish brogue to the play, and you all know I love a well executed accent. Again, only a minor part, but was nice to see another person backing Lois.
And last but not least,Arnd Korn (Holland’s Servant) completes the cast. Only a small part but it gave an incite as to the "downstairs" staff as we spotted him listening in on the "private" conversations of his master.
Directed by Cynthia Marsh, she got the cast spot on for all the parts, and even though nothing was rushed, the time flew by for me, mainly because I was so engrossed in the characters and what was going to happen next with them.
The set was designed by Rose Dudley, and this is the first thing that hits you when you enter the auditorium. It transported you back to what would have been a typical middle/upper class home with some lovely stained glass windows as the main feature of the set.
Looking at the set as well, i must congratulate Hannah Marshall for props that have been sourced for this production.
You can only imagine that the clothes would be as gorgeous as they are, and the wardrobe department produced some beautiful flowing costumes for the ladies and some wonderful suits for the men. The wigs were also fabulous. Jane Herring and Linda Croston are the costume connoisseurs here.
Lighting Design by Hugh Philip with Sound Design by Matthew Allcock and an evocative video backdrop by Mark James really created the atmospheric feel to the play.
If there had been soap operas in the 1920's then this is what it would have looked like as a pilot show because there were cliff hangers strewn throughout this play. I could almost hear the Eastenders "dum dum dum dum dum dud dud dum" in my head at the close of Act One.
Yet another wonderful cast and another educative visit to the theatre for me with one hell of a great story written about one very strong and determined woman, by a very strong and determined woman.
“The Stepmother” is at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 1 June.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

“Kinky Boots”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
"Kinky Boots" takes you from the factory floor to the catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the shoe factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola – a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.
The stage production is slightly different in parts to the film and I particularly loved the replacement for the arm wrestling competition between Don and Lola in the musical stage show.
Kayi Ushe plays Lola and, having seen the film twice, it would be hard to imagine someone to match up to the incredible performance given in the film by Chiwetel Ejiofor. Kavi Ushe was the perfect choice and a perfect match for Ejifor.
The over confident showman as Lola and the vulnerable revelations of Simon were beautifully done and when Kavi sings, the soul in his voice oozes out. The fragility in "Not My Father's Son" is as tender as any Luther Vandross's ballads, as was "Hold Me In Your Heart". Then there are the disco belters like "Land Of Lola" and "Sex Is In The Heel"
Joel Harper-Jackson plays Charlie Price and again a man who can really perform a song but it was not until Act two with the amazing "Soul Of A Man" that we get to hear the full passion and power he has in his voice
Paula Lane, who we all know from playing Kylie Platt in Coronation Street plays Lauren, and at first I didn't recognise her with her long blonde wig. Lauren has a bit of a crush on Charlie but of course Charlie is engaged to Nicola, but as in all the best musicals, true love really does conquer all.
Demitri Lampra, who plays Don, the bigoted worker who Lola manages to change, opinion wise is a brilliant character, and is better on stage than in the film, and the character was good in the film. Even with his outdated views at the start, he received a massive cheer at the end of the show. Well we all like to see a reformed character don't we? Another actor with a really good musical theatre voice, something I wasn't expecting.
Helen Ternent, Nicola, Charlie's selfish fiancee and Adam Price George,the wonderfully camp foreman in the factory, complete the main cast.
Lola's Angels are, dare I say it, gorgeous and funny and are great dancers with great flexibility.
The ensemble are also excellent and really flesh out this wonderful musical.
The music and lyrics are both by Cyndi Lauper and having been a fan of her music since the early Eighties, when I first heard this soundtrack, I realised there was so much more to Cyndi Lauper , music wise,than her records portrayed. The score covers several genres form disco stompers to gospel tinges, rock and big ballads. listen carefully and you can hear nods to some of the arrangements of her chart work.
Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, both areas were stunning, especially the latter.
The lighting was what you'd expect from a West End Show as was the set, and I loved the contrasting Northampton setting and the Milan catwalk.
I had heard that there were a few sound issues on opening night, Monday, but if there were any issues, these had been ironed out, because the sound design was spot on. If only the Spice Girls could borrow this production's sound designer!
Talking of sound and volume, I have never heard such a reaction from an audience at the Theatre Royal as was heard tonight, Tuesday. If you can imagine the roar of the crowd of England scoring the winning goal in the World Cup (No even I can't remember that far back), that would come somewhere near the enthusiasm and volume that this show received.
This show is sheer entertainment from start to end.The sort of musical that will have you feeling all warm and squidgy inside, but also has a great message to send out.
This really was one production I couldn't wait to see on stage and it exceeded everything that I had hoped for. You will not be disappointed here!
One of the easiest reviews I've had to write.
“Kinky Boots” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 8 June

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.