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The Country Wife

The Country Wife The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 30 October 2014 Restoration Comedy is a somewhat neglected genre, yet its place in the historical journey from Shakespeare to farce is significant. So this is an inspired choice by the Hostry Festival team led by Stash Kirkbride and director Peter Beck. Presented by a cast of professionals and amateurs The Country Wife is a rude, lewd and fun piece that was shocking in the 17th Century. The story revolves round lustful Mr Horner (Evan Ryder) pretending he’s been made a eunuch in order to reassure husbands he is safe while he seduces their wives and makes cuckolds of them. The central wife herself (Jo Reil) and Alithea (Rebecca Aldred) are but two happy participants, while the twists and turns of deceit, … Read entire article »

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The Importance of Being Earnest

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 25 October 2014 It is always something of a challenge to present a well known and much loved play in a way that is familiar yet fresh. This classic of mannered comedy is embraced by the Maddermarket cast with energy and good timing, allowing the comedy of Wilde’s witty, often-barbed one-liners and situational humour full rein. The young would-be Earnests, Algernon (Alexander Cowley) and John/Jack (Rob Tiffin) are well matched and suitably preposterous. The young women who must each have an Earnest, Gwendolen (Camilla Webster) and Cecily (Ellie Kidd) are excellent, especially in their speedy shallow ‘friendship’ in the tea scene. Watching over it all with her fearfully splendid matronly glare is the notorious Lady Bracknell (Clare Howard) with Miss Prism (Jane Dickerson) and Canon Chasuble (John … Read entire article »

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Green Forms

Green Forms Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 14 October 2014 Play about bureaucracy is funny and bitter-sweet Special lunchtime performances at the Maddermarket are a great idea. Green Forms is a clever, funny, bitter-sweet hour’s comedy from the mighty pen and sharp wit of Alan Bennett. Add in the combined acting talents of Dawn Brindle, Judi Daykin and John Mangan and there is all we need for a wonderful piece of fun to enliven a wet day in the city. It is a satire on offices, managements, bureaucracies, redundancies and mindsets of the 1980s, before computers took over the world and manual typewriters became history. The verbal sparring between the two perfectly matched women was masterful, the pace relentless. He is the one-armed caretaker-cum factotum with a possibly unintentional cruelty in his flippancy. The … Read entire article »

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The Hollies

The Hollies at Theatre Royal, Norwich Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 14 October 2014 60s’ pop legends bring back memories One of those rare 60s’ bands that never officially broke up, The Hollies, named after Christmas and/or in memory of Buddy Holly, are celebrating half a century since their first album. Drawing from a rich back catalogue with two newer songs, they played hits like Just One Look and Stay as originally recorded – three guitars, drums and singer. Other classics were updated in interpretation to make a thumping good evening. It was impossible not to sing along with Here I Go Again, You Got Me Going, Sorry Suzanne, We’re Thru, Listen to Me and after an interval to change clothes, Jennifer Eccles, Bus Stop, I’m Alive, The Baby, Sandy (4th July), Stop Stop … Read entire article »

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Much Ado About Nothing

Sewell Barn Theatre Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 11 October 2014 Stage rom-com brings the smiles Often considered one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies with serious issues and no deaths, Much Ado About Nothing is a good choice for this talented, lively company. Purists might argue at the decision to stage it in a contemporary media office instead of as soldiers, but it works. The play centres around two young couples. When gossip, rumour and some comical over-hearing threaten the marriage of Hero (Sabrina Poole) and Claudio (Ben Sheridan), subterfuge by friends and family is needed. Benedick (Joe Trewellard) and Beatrice (Laura Landamore) are tricked into confessing their outwardly denied love and all is finally well. Dogberry (Jeff Price) and his security team present some effective Shakespearian clowning. It is a large cast and other characters … Read entire article »

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