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Shakers (Re-stirred)

Harleston Players at Archbishop Sancroft High School, Harleston Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 30th October 2009 Shakers (Re-stirred) A night out with a play from the prolific pen of John Godber, is an entertaining, thought-provoking glimpse into aspects of our modern life with lots of social comment wrapped up in some high comedy and seasoned with masses of killing one-liners. Shakers (the re-stirred version that Godber and Jane Thornton have updated) is now on offer by the Harleston Players, a well established amateur group that relishes challenges. Four actresses – Dawn Symonds, Emma Owen Jackson, Roz Morgan and Sara Curtis – take on all the parts, from barmaids to waitresses, to male punters, business/yuppie types and supermarket staff. Multi-roling is a tall order, demanding comic precision, a wide variety of credible regional accents … Read entire article »

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Grumpy Old Shopper 3 – Mysteries

I ought to explain my aversion to shopping. I was born and raised above my father’s shop, we were a retail family and I am proud of his success through hard work which helped to make me what I am today! One of my friends (one of three) has pointed out to me that with my background, my loathing of shopping is a mystery. Well, what I dislike nowadays is not retail itself (essential part of our economy and enjoyed by millions and gives vital employment in difficult circumstances to millions more), but that it is made into a lifestyle, a religion, a culture in its own right and we are all expected to worship at the shrine. Anyway, in the spirit of open-mindedness, I thought an ideal part-time little earner for … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogs: My Own

Cold Comfort Farm

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 11 July 2009 Cold Comfort Farm A gnarled old tyrannical matriach who ‘saw something nasty in the woodshed’ when she was young and has milked it ever since, is just one of many weird and wonderful characters who people this funny farm. The play is a parody of doom-laden rural literature from Austin to Hardy, and the intimacy of the Sewell Barn well serves the breaking of the fourth wall, the direct address and an enjoyable proximity to madness. Young Flora (difficult part, well handled by Annette Phillips) arrives to bring new ideas, less madness and some order into her relatives’ chaotic farm. These are the delightfully loopy Starkadders, disturbed and disturbing: Ruth Howitt, Ian Shepherd, Tom Marshall, Tristan Cliffe, Matt Bishop and Lucy … Read entire article »

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Harleston Players at Archbishop Sancroft High School, Harleston Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 2 February 2009 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe On one level, it’s a children’s story of myths and legends. In fact, it’s the story of Jesus dying for another, and in the script by Adrian Mitchell from the original novel by CS Lewis, it’s an ambitious epic. Harleston Players combine skills of a large cast of children and adults, a large thrust area into three sides of audience for acting space and journeys, with the skills of director Cathy Gill to create an experience of Christian writing into performance. Starting in wartime England before the four children(not easy roles and handled well by Jordan Smith, Hannah Richards, Jake Williams and Nellie Unsworth) go through the wardrobe into a frozen … Read entire article »

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Gob Squad at the Playhouse, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 6 May 2009 Kitchen If you can remember the Sixties or weren’t there and want a taste of what a Happening was like, this is the show to watch. The quirky, aptly named Gob Squad hold forth in Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It so Good), a reconstruction of the 1965 Andy Warhol film. This Anglo-German group are well versed in public and open-space performances and offer comedy with traces of surrealism and a streak of anarchy. The randomness of events, such as throwing cornflakes or smoking coffee granules, is typical of much of the thearical and artistic experimentation of that era. They use three screens behind which most action occurs, and we see the filmed projections from out front. Gradually, several individuals … Read entire article »

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Exit Napoleon, Pursued by Rabbits

Nola Rae at the Playhouse, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 14 February 2005 Exit Napoleon, Pursued by Rabbits It takes some doing – 75 minutes on stage by a one-woman inventive comic mime artiste with a powerful message. The international physical theatre specialist enlivened the strange tale of Napoleon Bonaparte and, by extension, other dictators, on a desolate field in a tattered tent with the detritus of life – pots, spoons and a cheese grater providing endless comic opportunities. She toured a humorous repertoire, punctuated by an inspired soundtrack and effects, like an historic Mr Bean, from pathos to tape stuck to a finger. From the entrance through the audience, reminiscent of the nightmare crone in David Bowie’s Labrynth, to the end as Hitler orchestrating air raids, she took us on a journey … Read entire article »

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Dancing at Lughnasa

Theatre Royal Youth Theatre Company at The Garage, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 March 2005 Dancing at Lughnasa A timely St Patrick’s Day reminder – Irish dramatists have enriched the English stage for centuries. This contribution to the wealth of our language is in that tradition. And the Theatre Royal Youth Theatre Company did it in the round! Many experienced actors fight shy of such audience proximity but this talented group handled Irish accents, the second world war and a Tennessee Williams-like rural claustrophobia with flair. Told through the memories of Michael, played by Sam Claflin with warmth and an ease with Brechtian direct address, it’s a tale of family ties in the winds of change from outside. The sisters (Monica Mason, Connie Wall, Sophie Utting, Katie Broadbent and Daisy Wood) kept … Read entire article »

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Dias de las Noches

Novogo Fronta at the Norwich Arts Centre Review published by the Eastern Daily Press, 10 March 2005 Dias de las Noches Theatre that styles itself new frontier sets high expectations in using the old to invent the new. Set in 1974, two Russian performers have defected to Argentina and as they face the reality of never returning home, they are surrounded by a local military uprising. Having been told that much, we were off on a madcap whirl of cabaret, circus and burlesque in a seedy underworld peopled by the undead, the disturbed and the frantic. The show had the air of being rough and ready – spit and sawdust theatre. But that was deceptive. We tapped into somebody’s nightmare with the Big Bang – symbolised by twisted naked bodies writhing to a soundtrack to match. Some … Read entire article »

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Mouth to Mouth Theatre at The Cut, Halesworth Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 6 May 2005 Marat-Sade Not a bad choice of entertainment in General Election week! Marat-Sade, like King Lear, questions the assumption that “sanity” alone brings awareness of reality, while “insanity” distorts reality. Originally staged in 1964, it is an evocation of Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, a powerful, compelling piece with lessons from the Third Reich and earlier history. A wide knowledge of the aftermath of the French Revolution and the assassination of Marat is not a pre-requisite. Nor are details of the Marquis de Sade’s philosophy. Nor the medical treatment of the insane in 1808. This shock entertainment is deftly handled by Mouth to Mouth Theatre. Owing much to Brecht in narrative structure and songs, this play allowed the large cast … Read entire article »

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The Hiding Place

Saltmine Theatre Company at The Playhouse, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 May 2005 The Hiding Place Real-life events can sometimes be difficult to work in a theatrical context. Truth is often the first casualty. But in this perfomance of the Ten Boom family’s heroic hiding of Jews in their clock shop during the Nazi occupation of Holland, truth shines out alongside passion, Christian compassion, love and family values. Making a welcome return to the city, Saltmine brought their much-acclaimed show, The Hiding Place, out of the lifestory of Corrie Ten Boom and on to the Playhouse stage in an engaging and totally inspirational evening. Inevitably inviting some comparison with the Diary of Anne Frank and Schindler’s List, this went further. It’s timely on the 60th anniversary of war’s end to consider how forgiveness … Read entire article »

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