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Sep 24th

Double Death at the Theatre Royal Windsor

By Clare Brotherwood

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Brian Capron and Kim Tiddy

Claps of thunder and flashes of lightning are staple ingredients for setting the scene in thrillers, especially ones set in creepy Cornish country houses. And the sound and lighting effects herald this thriller particularly well.

The first act doesn’t exactly kick up a storm, however - until you realise that it’s a slow build up to a surprising and stunning climax.

The plot is certainly novel:  the combustible relationship between twin brothers has already led to attempted murder - or what it an accident? - and when the now paranoid paraplegic victim of that incident returns home from hospital, a game of cat and mouse ensues - with tragic consequences.

Described as ‘volatile and schizophrenic’, wheelchair-bound Ashley seems rather mild-mannered  as played by Tom Butcher; while as Ashley’s twin, Max, he is not particularly threatening. Playing two roles must be difficult, however, and hard work in such an eventful storyline, and I gather Tom joined the cast at a late stage. Certainly he doesn’t miss a cue as he swaps between the roles, mostly by disappearing into a working lift - whose light as it descends adds to the creepiness. It must have been a logistical nightmare for director and designer Philip Stewart, but the lift and an intercom are valuable props, unlike the playing back of a childhood home movie whose dialogue was too muffled to be heard.

Brian Capron who, after more than 10 years, is still remembered as Coronation Street murderer Richard Hillman, is on the other side of the law this time, convincing as a local policeman (complete with accent) with limited intuition, while Kim Tiddy as Ashley’s nurse has something of  Nurse Ratched about her. It is Judy Buxton as the twins’ indulgent aunt who makes the most impression. Her spirited performance adds colour and not a little humour to the proceedings.

Written by the Windsor-born actor Simon Williams, who starred as the twins at this very theatre several years ago, Double Death certainly has plenty of thrills and spills but it is sometimes a little lacklustre. Perhaps a bolt of lightning may help!


Double Death is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until Sept 27 and then continues touring:

Sept 29-Oct 1: Civic Theatre, Darlington

Oct 6-8: Marina Theatre, Lowestoft

Oct 15-18: Haymarket, Basingstoke

www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

www.talking-scarlet.co.uk
Sep 21st

Rhapsody Queen @ The Swan, High Wycombe on 19th September 2014

By Yvonne Delahaye

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High Wycombe rocked to the sounds of Queen, when tribute band Rhapsody Queen performed at The Swan on 19th September.  The hits came thick and fast and the band gave a high octane show that had the audience on its feet within minutes.  The audience's ages ranged from 7-70, proving that the popularity of this band will carry on for generations to come.

We all sang along to the songs we knew so well; One Vision, Under Pressure, Another One Bites the Dust, Fat Bottomed Girls, You’re My Best Friend, Killer Queen, Bicycle Race, Lullabye, The Show Must Go On, Don’t Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Flash, A Kind Of Magic, Seven Seas Of Rye, I Want It All, Somebody to Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Radio Gaga, We Will Rock You, I Want to Break Free and We Are The Champions.  It’s an extraordinary list of hits that began in 1973 and kept on coming until 1991, when tragically Freddie Mercury died.  We can only wonder how many more hits they’d have had in the ensuing years, but in the words of one of his songs his legacy will ‘live forever’.

Tribute bands often get a lot of flack, but I think they have to work extremely hard to produce the sounds and emulate their heroes. What is extraordinary about this band is that they’re all in their 20s, so wouldn’t have been born at the height of Queen’s success.  They met at music college BIMM in Brighton and this line-up has been performing together for the past year and they’re going from strength to strength.

Yvan Silva as Freddie Mercury, is an accomplished musician and has a good vocal range up to high falsetto.  He’s a great showman to front the show and has the strutting confidence to engage the audience and get everyone to accept his tribute performance in his own right.  No-one can match the vocal dexterity that Freddie had and Yvan struggled a few times with some of the complex key changes and could have brought more light and shade into some of the songs, but I’m sure that’ll come with time and more experience. Jonny Sennet produces Brain May’s distinctive sound and style and has the height and the hair, as well as the musical abilities to give the band the right image.  The band is completed by Paul Lennox as Roger Taylor, Matt Sparkes as John Deacon and Jason Mercer as Spike Edney, who are all accomplished musicians and singers.

The show is everything you’d want a Queen concert to be, theatrical, entertaining and good fun, with the chance to have a sing-a-long and bop to our favourite songs.


Catch the show on tour:
4th October at Floral Pavilion Theatre, Brighton
17th October at Palace Theatre, Redditch
29th October at The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
It’s a show you can take your kids or your granny along to and have a great night out!
For more info visit: www.queentribute.co.uk

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
19.9.14
Twitter: @yvonnedelahaye

Sep 19th

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Twickenham Theatre

By Clare Brotherwood

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Preview pictures of next year’s production of Sweeney Todd at London’s Coliseum, where tickets will cost as much as £125, make Emma Thompson look like Mary Poppins and Bryn Terfel one of The Wurzels.

If you really want to experience this gory tale in all its glory however, for just  £15 you can see top West End performers up close and intimate and, at the same time, help the new Twickenham Theatre onto its feet.

For its inaugural production, this 60-seater above the London Road Pub (conveniently just one minutes’ walk from the station) is on to a winner.

To put it mildly, it’s a bloody good night as the demon barber scans the audience for victims and blood spurts freely in what becomes a claustrophobic but exciting space.

Did I say space? That there is not a lot of and yet in several scenes the cast of nine manage to create it as they act out their roles without falling over each other!

Don’t take this personally David Bedella but, the first time I saw you as the erring husband in Putting It Together at St James’ Theatre, I thought you looked like the Devil. I was right. One of your most famous roles, for which you won the 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, was as Satan in Jerry Springer – The Opera. So you’re made for the role of the demon barber!

But let’s not get as personal as the space in this tiny theatre…

As the wronged husband who returns to London to seek revenge for his wife’s death and to reclaim his daughter, Bedella runs the gamut of emotions. Haunted by the past, the pain and anguish in his face is heart-breaking, but as madness prevails it’s a wonder the blood that spurts from his victims doesn’t curdle.

Bedella, whose voice at times sounds like Anthony Newley, while at others sounding as if it was coming from the very bowels of the earth, more than meets his match in Sarah Ingram as Mrs Lovett. She may be the maker of those famous pies, and at times there are moments of pure madness, but mostly she comes across as an east ender (who won’t be out of place on Albert Square, to be honest) with a huge heart and a sense of humour just looking for love. It is her scenes which get the most laughs and the most applause.

Seeing as this is Stephen Sondheim’s musical version of the Victorian melodrama, the emphasis is on the music, and this production is strong on voices, expertly directed by Benjamin Holder. Special mention should be made of Genevieve Kingsford, making her professional debut as Sweeney Todd’s long lost daughter Johanna: though looking suitably waif-like, her voice is high, pure and memorable.

The production is the directing debut of Derek Anderson, who deserves his own round of applause, but there are just a couple of wrongs which ought to be righted. Mikaela Newton is utterly convincing as the young boy Tobias – except for her flowing blonde locks, which ought to be tucked away under her cap. And it was sometimes obvious that the actors were looking at the screen behind the audience where the musical director could be seen conducting – a bit off-putting.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street continues at the Twickenham Theatre until Oct 4.

Box office: 020 8787 5933

www.twickenhamtheatre.com

Sep 17th

Shakespeare’s Globe’s touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By Clare Brotherwood


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Janie Dee and Aden Gillett

To be perfectly honest, it won’t matter if the audiences in the Globe’s current tour of the Far East and Russia don’t understand Shakespeare’s prose. For Dominic Dromgoole’s production is a visual feast, exquisitely choreographed and dressed, with shed loads of beautifully crafted comedy from The Mechanicals and X-rated passion from the fairy queen.

It was such a joy to watch that, having seen it at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, I insisted friends join me for a second helping at the stunning Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury before it set off on its international tour (first stop Shanghai).

It was far from being too long (at two hours, 45 minutes) for 11-year-old Amelia’s first taste of Shakespeare. In fact she was disappointed the second half was only to be an hour and said she wanted to see it again!

The tale of four lovers who wander into the midst of a dispute between the king and queen of the fairies is magical in every way.

The production bursts into action as Theseus, mythical king of Athens, conquers Hipployta and her Amazonian women in battle.

As the Amazonian queen, Janie Dee looks every inch the warrior, fierce, focussed, foreboding and not a little wild, a characteristic she builds on when she later appears as Titania, the fairy queen who, clothed in animal skins and smeared with mud, is almost feral.

Meanwhile, hapless lovers Helena, Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius (played with youthful vigour by Beatriz O’Hea, Lizzy Watts, Jamie Chandler and Philip Correia) are in love with the wrong partners, with or without the help of the bungling sprite Puck, who has been entrusted by the fairy king, jealous Oberon, to bewitch Titania so that she falls in love with the first persons she sees – the tradesman, Bottom, on whom Puck has transplanted an ass’s head.

As Oberon, Aden Gillett has tremendous presence as a somewhat malevolent character, in sharp contrast to Molly Logan who, as the playful Puck, is a little powerhouse of mischief and mayhem. Indeed her performance is so captivating that one of my friends likened her to a young Judi Dench!

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The Mechanicals 

For Shakespeare first-timers especially, The Mechanicals and the play they perform in the last act is greatly entertaining. I don’t remember laughing so much as I did this time round when the assorted group of tradesmen clattered on stage in proper northern wooden clogs. Their characters are evident from the start, especially bossy Bottom, played with gravitas by Geordie Trevor Fox; Steffan Donnelly, whose awkwardness as the young Flute is a tour de force; John Cummins as enthusiastic Snout, and Richard Bremmer who, as Snug, created a work of art as an almost wraith-like vision whose mournful expression is so sad and yet had us howling with laughter.

Staged as it would have been in Shakespeare’s Globe, complete with Claire van Kampen’s at times emotive music played on instruments of the time, this is a production Great Britain can be proud to export.

Shakespeare’s Globe’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is now touring China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia until December.

Sep 8th

Ha Ha Hood @ The Swan Theatre, High Wycombe

By Yvonne Delahaye

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After seeing the madcap comedy Ha Ha Holmes! last year with Joe Pasquale, I was looking forward to some more crazy antics from the Ha Ha! team with a brand new and all-out outrageous comic romp! Ha Ha Hood! And the Prince of Leaves, is the latest irreverent interpretation of a classic story from the team who also brought us Ha Ha Hitler! And Ha Ha Hamlet!  With all the terrible events happening around the world, we all need to escape and have some fun and laughter in our lives and this show is guaranteed to get your sides aching.

Ten years after a messy divorce Robin and Marian are forced back together to fight the Sheriff once more. Little John and Friar Tuck, now considerably older and rougher around the edges, join the merry pair to try and save the citizens of Nottingham…

Maid Marian, Nottinghamshire’s feistiest female, who has in the past been brought to life by the likes of screen goddesses Audrey Hepburn, Cate Blanchett and Uma Thurman  is now portrayed by Su Pollard, who serves up a world-weary Marian who is definitely more matron than maid!   Tommy Cannon takes on the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and Little John while Bobby Ball, currently starring in TV’s Not Going Out with Lee Mack, doubles up as Friar Tuck and Guy of Gisborne.

Su Pollard is a comedy icon who needs no introduction. The Nottingham-born lass makes for a perfect menopausal Marian, cutting her comedy chops on hit BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi as scatty chalet maid Peggy. Su cemented her camp credentials with comedies You Rang, M’lord and Oh, Doctor Beeching, and is a musical theatre and pantomime heroine! 

Cannon and Ball’s starring role in Ha Ha Hood!  Prince of Leaves marks forty years since their first television appearance and a whopping fifty years together as a duo.   The Cannon and Ball Show ran for 9 hugely successful years and the pair have 2 sitcoms and numerous theatre/pantomime appearances under their belts; not forgetting their hilarious stint on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. 

Ben Langley (Robin Hood) has worked in London’s Covent Garden as a street performer for the last 18 years, winning The Bristol Harbour Festival Street Performer of the Year award.  He is co-founder of the Ha Ha Boys comedy team, writing and touring the Ha Ha series of theatre shows since 2007. 

“For me, what I saw in Ha Ha! was a British version of The Reduced Shakespeare Company which, rather than taking the micky out of us, was embracing us and was very pro-British and was a tribute to all of the great comedy artists and routines that have made Britain funny over the last 50 to 100 years.” – Ben Langley, creator

Andy Pickering completes the cast, accompanying on piano and adding a variety of wigs and voices to the chaotic events.

Su Pollard has the most wonderful belting singing voice (and a lovely pair of pins!) and her energy is just as infectious as ever.  Bobby and Tommy are warm and funny and it’s a joy to watch the three of them working the audience, knowing exactly how to deliver a line and entertain us all.   We all enjoyed the show immensely and although we’ve seen the sight gags hundreds of times they all still work and have us giggling all the way through.  Some of the lines were a bit coarse, especially as there were a lot of young children in the audience, but overall the show is jolly good clean fun.

Switch off the news, go out and have a laugh – it’s the best therapy in the world!

Tour Dates:

Tuesday 9th September Venue Cymru Llandudno
Wednesday 10th September Crewe Lyceum Theatre
Thursday 11th September New Brighton Floral Pavilion Theatre
Friday 12th September Carlisle The Sands Centre
Saturday 13th September Durham Gala
Sunday 14th September The Hawth Crawley
Tuesday 16th September Milton Keynes Theatre
Wednesday 17th September Hastings White Rock
Thursday 18th September Leamington Spa Royal Spa Centre
Friday 19th September Redditch Palace Theatre
Saturday 20th September Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre
Monday 22nd September – Tuesday 23rd September Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre
Wednesday 24th September Lancaster Grand Theatre
Thursday 25th September Grimsby Auditorium
Friday 26th September York Grand Opera House
Sunday 28th September Glasgow Theatre Royal
Monday 29th September Edinburgh Playhouse
Tuesday 30th September Billingham Forum Theatre

Further dates and info on www.hahahood.com

@HaHaShow

Reviewed by:
@Yvonne Delahaye
7.9.14

Sep 4th

Dangerous Corner at the Theatre Royal Windsor

By Clare Brotherwood

A shot in the dark, followed by a scream, and the stage is set for the first of J B Priestley’s many plays.

Dangerous Corner

But the content is in stark contrast to the rich, warm tones of the Art Deco drawing room of the country house in which the play is set. For beneath the 1930s respectability of wealthy couple Robert and Freda Caplan, their friends and colleagues, lurks the darkest of secrets which are disclosed as the evening unfolds.

J B Priestley himself described the play as ‘pretty thin stuff when all is said and done’, but if it were a book it would be a real page-turner, and in the hands of director Michael Attenborough and his sterling cast it has its audience in suspense right up to the very last line as devastating revelation after devastating revelation is exposed.

Some, such as affairs and homosexuality, probably wouldn’t turn a hair in today’s society, but in the mannered world of the 1930s, beautifully recreated by set and costume designer Gary McCann and lighting designer Tim Mitchell, what unfolds appears to be somewhat shocking when the stiff upper lip collapses - with tragic consequences.

As Robert Caplan, Colin Buchanan (remember Dalziel’s Pascoe?) is the perfect host for most of the evening but shows his passionate side in the closing scenes with a powerful explosion of emotions. Robert’s wife, however, shows her feelings more easily from the very beginning and Finty Williams portrays her as both fearful and feisty with a presence she has obviously inherited from her mother, Dame Judi Dench, who was in the audience.

Though Kim Thomson’s Olwen is gentle and almost wan, her presence is just as striking, as is Lauren Drummond’s Betty, for completely different reasons - a playful, shrieking child well suited to her gauche, lumbering husband (Matt Milne).

Though the most contained of all the characters, it is Charles Stanton’s lack of emotion which makes him the most menacing and Michael Praed’s performance is memorable for its steely coldness.

All in all, a class act to be savoured.

Dangerous Corner is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until September 13 and then tours:

Sept 15-20: Clwyd Theatr, Mold

Sept 29-Oct 4: Richmond Theatre

Oct 6-11: Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

Oct 13-18: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

Oct 27-Nov 1: Theatre Royal Glasgow

Nov 3-8: Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Nov 10-15: Malvern Theatre

Nov 17-22: Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

Nov 24-29: New Victoria Theatre, Woking

www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

www.kenwright.com

Aug 27th

Top Hat at Milton Keynes Theatre

By Louise Winter

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I had been so looking forward to this show and had very high expectations and these were fully met! This is just a wonderful, wonderful show. When I was in my teens there was often an Astaire and Rogers musical on the TV on a Saturday afternoon and I spent many happy hours escaping into them. There is nothing better – except experiencing it live!

A hugely ambitious project when aspects are considered as a whole – staging, costumes, the dancing, the music. It’s a vast undertaking but this stage adaptation is perfectly done. There is a quality that is undeniable. Hildegard Bechtler’s staging is gorgeous; totally authentic looking Art Deco sets that scream class and appear to have been created out of love. The set moves to create quirky little scenes: the hansom cab, inside a plane, glimpses into other scenes behind. Jon Morrell’s costumes look (and therefore I imagine) are very expensive indeed. The attention to the detail is wonderful and just a delight to look at.

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Alan Burkett (playing Jerry Travers) and Charlotte Gooch (Dale Tremont) as the leads have a great chemistry on stage and their singing and dancing is, of course, sublime. There is a lot to live up to and the pressure must be heavy but Burkitt has the mannerisms of Astaire when dancing; that relaxed, almost casual, feel. Gooch is cheeky and sassy. They are fantastic ambassadors for the show and its heritage.

The script is so sharp and fast that you do have to keep up. This is especially so in the interaction between Horace Hardwick (Clive Hayward who steals the scene many a time!) and Jerry. The bickering between Hardwick and his wife Madge (Rebecca Thornhill) is very funny. Other super performances are from Sebastian Torkia as the hilarious Alberto Beddini and John Conroy as Bates.

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This is a superlative production. It is of course, Irving Berlin’s music including Top Hat (obviously), White tie and Tails, Puttin’ on the Ritz, and Let’s Face the Music and Dance, that are completely ageless. Jae Alexander’s musical direction keeps things zipping along. The totally faithful adherence to the original score is heartwarming as is the retention of the original choreography. These two aspects are the reason that this show has been so well supported but it is the execution of these along with the wonderful performances, the sumptuous costumes, the art deco staging, and overall high polish make this a first class production.

It was very busy at MK Theatre last night but do try and get tickets. It's uplifting to see a show of such impeccable quality.

TOP HAT at Milton Keynes Theatre
Until 6 September 2014
Tickets £21.50 - £58.40 (booking fee)
BOOK ONLINE

Aug 19th

Agatha Christie’s Murder on Air at the Theatre Royal Windsor

By Clare Brotherwood

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This most original and unusual production is certainly among the most entertaining I’ve seen.

It’s classy, nostalgic, and features thrilling yarns with unexpected climaxes. It’s great fun and has a huge novelty factor but, most of all, it lifts the lid on just how complex performing a radio play can be.

Set in a studio, at a time when actors turned up in evening dress to perform on ‘the wireless’, three of Christie’s radio plays are read in the style of their original BBC broadcasts by members of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company.

Personal Call (circa 1954), surrounds phone calls a man is getting from his former wife - who died the previous year; The Yellow Iris (1937) features Hercule Poirot who gets a mysterious call to a nightclub to avert a crime, while Butter in a Lordly Dish (1948) concerns a KC and dedicated philanderer who, after another successful prosecution, arranges to meet his latest conquest. But he has a surprise in store.

All are superbly performed by a versatile and talented company, not least guest stars Jenny Seagrove and Tom Conti who, though reading the scripts as a radio actor would, hams up his performance by giving the audience knowing looks and appearing so relaxed that at one point on the opening night he seemingly missed one of his cues, much to the amusement of his fellow cast members.

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I love radio plays and this really opened my eyes as to how they are performed. At times though I had to close them and listen to the story. There is so much going on on stage that I was distracted… which makes me want to see it again so I can take in more.

Timing is of the essence, particularly when it comes to the sound effects, expertly provided by foley artist (one who creates sound effects) Alexander S Bermange, whose work was so fascinating I could watch on entire show centred on him alone. Adrian Metcalfe also deserves a special mention for his wonderful imitation of trains, while Elizabeth Payne proved she had a worthy extra string to her bow as a singer, ably accompanied by the aforementioned Alexander S Bermange.

A step back in the history of the BBC, a lesson in broadcasting, and hugely entertaining, this really is a must see!

Just one thing: why did dedicated animal lover Jenny Seagrove wander on stage at the beginning of the evening with an elderly dog who walked up to its own little microphone and then walk off? No-one seems to know!


Agatha Christie’s Murder on Air is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until August 23

Box Office: 01753 853888

www.theatreroyalwindsor

The tour then continues:

September 1-6: Theatre Royal Brighton

September 16-20: Salford Quays Theatre, Manchester

www.kenwright.com


Aug 12th

One Man Two Guvs @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793) born in Venice, wrote over 200 plays, of which 150 are comedies.  One of his best known works, Il Servitore di Due Padroni (The Servant of Two Masters), was given a new lease of life by Richard Bean, who adapted it in 2011 for the National Theatre, setting it in Brighton in 1963.  Now seen by over 1 million people worldwide, this internationally-acclaimed smash-hit has been hailed as 'the funniest show on the planet' by The Mail and a 'comic classic' by The Guardian and has been hugely successful on Broadway, in the West End and on tour in the UK as well as Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand..

One Man, Two Guvnors is the hilarious story of Francis Henshall who, fired from his skiffle band, becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother - who's been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a job with one Stanley Stubbers - but to prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart. It has been described as a glorious celebration of British comedy - a unique, laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners.

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The acclaimed production has songs by Grant Olding, performed by skiffle band The Craze, who entertain the audience before the first and second acts. Every movement is carefully choreographed for maximum comedy effect by the Physical Comedy Director  Cal McCrystal and Choreographer and Tour Director Adam Penford, with designs by Mark Thompson, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound design by Paul Arditti, fight direction by Kate Waters.

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Literally throwing himself into the role of Francis Henshall is Gavin Spokes who recently appeared in 1984  and Jamie Lloyd's production of She Stoops to Conquer.  He played Hardy in Laurel and Hardy for the Watermill Theatre.

Emma Barton, Shaun Williamson, Derek Elroy One Man 2 Guvs.jpgShaun Williamson, probably best known for his roles as Barry in EastEnders, Extras and Life's Too Short for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, plays scrap dealer Charlie ‘the Duck’ Clench.

Emma Barton, playing Francis’s love interest Dolly, is well known to TV viewers for her role as Honey Mitchell in EastEnders, a role she played for three years and she recently appeared in Celebrity Masterchef.

Jasmyn Banks is Pauline Clench, Alicia Davies is Rachel Crabbe, Michael Dylan is Alfie, Derek Elroy plays Lloyd Boateng, Edward Hancock is Alan Dangle (playing the role of ‘an actor’ which I really enjoyed) and Patrick Warner plays Stanley Stubbers

Taking its roots from Commedia dell’arte, the play often moves into pantomime with carefully crafted  audience participation.  The restaurant scene, as always, is the funniest scene in the play, leaving the audience roaring with laughter at the slapstick antics and mishaps.  Precise comic timing is an absolute must in this show and the cast execute this to perfection.

Having seen the original tour with the superb James Cordon starring, I was a little disappointed to see that some very coarse lines had been added, which seemed to be unnecessary and actually distracted from the comedy.  The style seems to have changed too, playing specifically for laughs, but the audience love it nonetheless and I can see this touring for many years to come.

Performances:   Mon 11 – Sat 16 Aug
Evenings 7.30pm, Thu & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £10 - £29.50 when booked online or over the phone. (premium seats also available)
Box Office:  0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (bkg fee)

The tour continues to:
Crawley Heath
18 – 23 August 2014
Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
25 – 30 August 2014
Liverpool Empire
1 – 6 September 2014
Theatre Royal, Bath
8 – 20 September 2014
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
22 – 27 September 2014
Further dates and info can be found on:
www.onemantwoguvnors.com


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
11.8.14

Aug 6th

April in Paris @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 5th - 9th August 2014

By Yvonne Delahaye

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John Godber is the third most performed playwright in the UK, after William Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. His plays are performed across the world with Bouncers being the most popular and it’s easy to see why he’s so successful.  John writes characters that are real, human, truthful and very, very funny. April in Paris was written in 1992 as part of the Hull Festival and in 1994 was nominated for the Olivier Comedy of the Year Award.


Al and Bet are not what you'd call 'love's young dream'. Bet's bored, Al's at his wits' end and they're stuck in a romance rut! Then out of the blue the passionless pair win a holiday to Paris! Will the city of love rekindle some life into this dying relationship? Will they succumb to the allure of l'amour in 'gay Paris'? Or will it be battle-stations amongst the boulevards? Join the intrepid pair as they sample the delights of the continent. Will Paris persuade them that they are a perfect partnership or is this the end of 'la rue' for Al and Bet?


John revisited the play 22 years after he wrote it and discovered that the themes of high unemployment, redundancy and house price stagnation were still endemic in Yorkshire.  In this version, the play is still very fresh, well balanced and relevant and it’s two stars, Shobna Gulati and Joe McGann, bring the characters to life, sharing their lives, dreams and disappointments with us.

Shobna Gulati is best known for playing Anita in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street from 2001 to 2006, a role to which she returned at the end of 2009 and departed again in 2013. Since then she has been a panellist on Loose Women.

Joe McGann became a household name as Charlie Burrows, the “housekeeper” in the hit TV comedy series The Upper Hand which ran for six years. His major stage roles include Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Ray Say in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

April in Paris is produced by Paul Tyrer & Jamie Clark for April in Paris Ltd with Jane Walmsley and Michael Braham for JAM Pictures Ltd, in association with Derby Theatre.

The dialogue is fast-paced, with almost a laugh on every line and is hysterically funny.  Shobna and Joe are both brilliant as Bet and Al and we totally believe in their characters and relationship.  Every comic nuance is delivered with great energy, enthusiasm and truth.  As my friend Vicky said ‘they make it look so easy’, but as we’re both actors too we know only too well just how hard they both have to work to keep an audience entertained with just 2 actors on stage. The play has great warmth and the moments of pathos are touching, but never dwelt on for long as the laughs just keep on coming. 

The set is very cleverly designed by Pip Leckenby and we loved the 2 understudies, Emma Keele and Robert Ashcroft, dressed as French mime artists who made the set changes hilarious.

Tickets are available from Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee), or online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (bkg fee)

LISTINGS
Performances:   Tue 05 – Sat 09 Aug
Evenings 7.30pm, Wed & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £10 - £29.50 when booked online or over the phone.
Box Office:  0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (bkg fee)
The tour continues to:
AUGUST
12th-16th Malvern Theatre
19th-23rd Churchill Theatre, Bromley
26th-30  Glasgow Theatre Royal
SEPTEMBER
1st-3rd   Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
4th-6th  Opera House, Manchester
9th-13th  Richmond Theatre
15th-20th Chesterfield Pomegranate
24th-27th New Brighton Floral Pavilion
30th-4th Oct Dundee Rep Theatre
OCTOBER
7th-11th  Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
14th-18th Civic Theatre, Darlington


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
5.8.14