Wednesday, 5 August 2020

"The Black Veil" by
John Goodrum
Colin McIntyre's Classic Thriller Season.
The story, based on the classic Charles Dickens' classic thriller, is introduced and narrated by Andrew Ryan from the safety of one of the Nottingham Theatre Royal's boxes.
Now there is something quite un-nerving about an empty theatre. Anyone who has stood in a theatre on their own will feel that maybe they aren't quite as alone as they feel, and the decision to film this story on the stage of the empty Nottingham Theatre Royal, only adds to that spooky atmosphere, especially the lights from the balconies which strangely look like evil onlookers.
Newly-qualified doctor Stephen Ruggles (Chris Brookes) has just arrived home on a stormy winter’s evening and is nodding off by the fire when his slumber is interrupted by a female visitor.
A mysteriously-veiled elderly woman, Ada Crawlings, (Sarah Wynne Kordas) arrives begs him to visit a nameless patient at 9am, the following morning. Against his better judgement, Ruggles agrees, and settles back to his repose.
Ruggles gets into conversation with Ada and tells her that he is planning to bring his fiancee, Rose, down to London, but he has to impress his future Brother in Law, Simon by his surroundings first.
In the morning Ruggles attends a corpse at Ada's creepy abode in Limehouse, who we discover to be Ada's Grandson, Billy. Ada is out for revenge for the death of Billy and wants Luke, a shady small time crook, dead.
Enter Luke Gunford (
John Goodrum
), a menacing low life crook, seemingly unafraid to murder both the young doctor as well as old Ada. But Luke knows more than first appears and some of these characters are not quite who, or what they seem!
There are twists and turns from this moment on with the past coming back to haunt someone and deceit and murder just around the corner, with even more surprises for at least one of these characters.
The sound effects create the kind of images in your mind that will make your mind wander into your own unknown, painting pictures in your mind.
The editing, by Sarah and John, is cleverly carried out to move the story on in a way that live theatre would have had the usual problems with, making the play look and feel more like a film, just without the scenery.
Directed by
Karen Henson
and wonderful performances from Chris Brookes,
Sarah Wynne Kordas
John Goodrum
, as well as the vampire-esque appearance of narrator, Andrew Ryan, to send shivers down your spine.
The Sound Design is by David Gilbrook.
This is definitely one to watch for fans of all thrillers, and especially the many many fans of Tabs Productions excellent Colin McIntyre's Thriller Season. It's also one that I hope they reprise in front of a live audience because it has all the trademarks of their much loved productions from the past.
You can catch this online production on Youtube and via the Nottingham Theatre Royal and Concert Hall Youtube channel.
Sweet dreams.........

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

"Monkey" by Jake Levy &
Libby Horobin
Nottingham New Theatre Youtube.
While theatre as we know it is still a distant dream, Nottingham New Theatre have been producing socially distanced online theatre. Befitting of the current situation and using the situation as a basis for the story line, this latest, written by
Jake Levy
Libby Horobin
uses a Zoom "pub quiz" as a way to keep that human interaction. What starts off as an online quiz, spirals into something completely unexpected.
Ava (
Eloise Dooley
), Danny (Charlie Bellwood), Sean (
Joe Butler
), Nicky (
Oliver Binns
) and Des (
Reilly Enzo Salmon
) get together for the quiz wher Nicky, the quizmaster starts to pose a set of tailored questions especially for the group. One question really gets under the skin of one of the zoomers and they leave the zoom session. The domino effect takes hold when truths come out, leaving just Des and Danny on screen.
This is where we discover that one of the pair has an addiction that looks to be spiralling, with the other showing concern for the other, but is the result tough love or does he cave in?
Filmed by Josh Spear, there are the zoom shots as well as an outdoor sequence, where we get to see some lovely scenery the University grounds offer.
The sound, at times, I was at times wrestling with, and I'll tell you why. The first time I watched this piece, I thought that it needed some further sound equalising with the Zoom sessions. And then I thought, well, no it doesn't because that is what the sound is like with this form of media and it is naturalistic with some of the distorted sound.
Watching "Monkey" is like eavesdropping on a group of friends getting together and then finding out something you were not expecting to hear, and I liked that element of the piece.
Obviously with this being a new piece of writing, I didn't know what to expect, and that is what makes seeing new pieces of theatre and writing like this a particular treat, feeding my hunger for new writing.
All five actors do not feel like they are performing for the camera and are completely natural, especially with the banter, crude jokes and references.
What I also noticed were, and I don't know how well they were intended by Director
Jake Levy
and Shadow Director
Rachel Coussins
, the silences. These can be used to wonderful effect, and were in this production, to create that slightly uneasy and embarrassed space, and I really liked that with "Monkey".
"Monkey" was well edited and, again gave a very natural feel to the 28 minute piece of online theatre, by Caetano Capurro and Charlotte Smith.
As well as co-writing "Monkey",
Libby Horobin
also produced the piece.
The ending, with its' outdoor sequence used a piece of music I didn't recognise, but sounded like it would not be out of place in some Italian spaghetti western, adding a slightly dangerous edge to the action.
One other thing I noticed was just how tidy the five "gaffs" were in the Zoom sequences. The joy of Zoom and Skype eh?
"Monkey" can be viewed on Youtube on Wednesday 5 August at 7.30 and you can reserve tickets via