Dancing Queen – Civic Theatre, Darlington
Posted by: The Reviews Hub
Director and Choreographer: Alan Harding
This is not Mamma Mia, neither is it a tribute band, it is not just a cabaret but also an unashamed cheese fest of the songs of Abba with a liberal sprinkling of some classic disco tunes from the 70’s.
The scenery is reminiscent of a ship, with the dancers appearing on deck with a background of a million stars, and the lighting and the glitter balls help to set the mood.
Striking from the outset is the fact that the dancers are not very good at miming and one of the dancers isn’t particularly good at dancing. To be fair there were a lot of exhausting dance routines to remember but you do find yourself drawn to watching her doing the wrong steps rather the others who are dancing seamlessly and fantastic. The costume changes are many and fast with a lot of sparkle, feathers and ruffles. The four main singers have amazing vocals and are very talented.
The second half seems to have more energy than the first and the dancers come into the stalls to get the audience up on to their feet. We had dancing in the aisles during Dancing in the Street.
There are some poignant vocals during a Bee Gee’s medley, given the sad news regarding Robin Gibb this week. But some high vocals and camping during a Village People medley of YMCA and In the Navy helped to lighten the mood.
It’s difficult to stop yourself from clapping and singing along to instantly recognisable songs and by the end your will be up on your feet dancing the Abba Megamix. If you want to have fun and a good sing along then get yourself along to Dancing Queen and you will be guaranteed a fun night out.
Yes, Prime Minister – Civic Theatre, Darlington
Posted by: The Reviews Hub
Written: Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn
Director: Jonathan Lynn
It’s a strange situation when you’re sat in a theatre watching a farce that slowly evolves into a story about paedophilia. Not a particularly funny subject.There may have been a clever point being made but miss it and you’re in for some very uncomfortable viewing.
Graham Seed plays Jim Hacker a bumbling amalgamation of the most recent incumbents of No 10. Brought up to date with many references to today’s political scene, and the more recent phone hacking scandal, it still lacks much of what the classic comedy television series of the past had. Michael Simpkin makes a reasonable pompous Sir Humphrey Appleby and Clive Hayward is an entertaining Bernard Woolley caught between the rock of the Prime Minister and the hard place of Sir Humphrey, with Laura Murray as Claire Sutton the PM’s Special Policy Advisor or “That Woman” has Sir Humphrey calls her.
Set over a weekend at Chequers, Hacker is chairing a conference about the collective European deficit. The light at the end of this oil tunnel though come from the tiny but rich country of Kumranistan. But this is where it turns very uncomfortable with the Kumranistan Foreign Secretary asking for an underage prostitute to be included in his list of demands. The plot is then suitably lost and Hacker, Appleby et al all try to find a way to collect the spoils without giving the Kumranistani’s their reward. After endless painful bumbling and more discomfort when Hacker tries to compare the possibility of child sex to be akin with the sacrifice the men make on the front line every day, it is finally pointed out that what is being asked for is actually illegal and eventually a way of solving the problem is found. Even religion is included with the Prime Minister prayers answered by some spectacular lightening.
There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments, the scene at the end with the live BBC interview was hilariously brought to life by Tim Wallers acting his heart out as Simon Chester. Michael Simpkin thoroughly deserved both his round of applause for the impossible speeches Sir Humphrey had to give. The scenery and the acting and interacting were all perfect it’s just a shame the it was let down by a difficult plot line