A NATIONAL FIRST FOR AWARD-WINNING NEWCASTLE THEATRE ROYAL

 

L-R: NAS Autism Accreditation Director - Robert Pritchett, Theatre Royal Director of Operations - Dawn Taylor, NAS Senior Accreditation Advisor - Christine Flintoft-Smith, Theatre Royal Panto Star Danny Adams Photo credit: Mark Ferguson
L-R: NAS Autism Accreditation Director – Robert Pritchett, Theatre Royal Director of Operations – Dawn Taylor, NAS Senior Accreditation Advisor – Christine Flintoft-Smith, Theatre Royal Panto Star Danny Adams
Photo credit: Mark Ferguson

 

Newcastle Theatre Royal is celebrating being the first theatre in the country to be honoured with the Autism Access Award from The National Autistic Society (NAS).

The award has been granted following a year-long project working with local schools, families and specialists to develop an all-inclusive approach to theatre in relation to the specific needs of theatre-goers with autism.

Newcastle Theatre Royal has already pioneered a highly popular programme of ‘relaxed performances, which this season includes Shrek The Musical and the ever-popular Theatre Royal pantomime, Dick Whittington.These specialist performances include tailored sound and lighting effects as well as a less formal, more supportive atmosphere in order to reduce anxiety levels.

 But this award from the NAS moves a step beyond these specialist performances and looks at making the theatre and its productions accessible at any time of the year. Director of the NAS Accreditation scheme, Robert Pritchett, said: “Newcastle Theatre Royal’s engagement with local autism groups has enabled them to receive accurate and honest feedback that has supported them to establish new ways of working and viewing accessibility within the theatre.

“The Theatre Royal has made an enthusiastic and effective leap into the world of autism, the impact it has had on those that it has supported to come through its doors can be seen throughout all the positive feedback it receives and the success stories they have. It will be with excitement and anticipation that we await the coming year and see the developments and feedback that come from access to more public performances.”

Chief Executive of the Newcastle Theatre Royal, Philip Bernays, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first theatre in the UK to be granted this award from the National Autistic Society and we are very grateful for all the support and guidance they have given us.

“The whole team here at the Theatre have worked extremely hard towards this award and the positive feedback from our audience members with special needs makes all that hard work worthwhile.”

For more information on the Theatre Royal’s relaxed performances, please visit www.theatreroyal.co.uk or call our Group Sales on 08448 11 21 22.

 

20 Questions with ….. Lee Proud

cache_2412054874Choreographer, Director and fellow northerner Lee Proud answered 20 questions

Some favourites

Favourite show (whether you have been in it or not)?

My Favourite show changes with my mood but I think if I had to choose, it would be Cats. I saved up for the LP when I was 11 and I wore it out. Gillian Lynne’s choreography for Cats still inspires, fascinates and moves me. The show completely fired my imagination at a young age and made me believe in the magic of theatre.

Favourite book?

My favourite book is The Stand by Stephen King. It’s an epic read and full of both supernatural and human drama. I also love anything by Irvine Welsh

Favourite theatre?

Favourite Theatre is probably Live Theatre in Newcastle my home town. Such a warm atmosphere and always an interesting and diverse programme

Favourite song?

My favourite song is Only Yesterday by The Carpenters. The optimism of the lyric married with the heartbreakingly sad orchestration reminds me that nothing lasts forever.

Favourite music?

Favourite music. It sounds clichéd but if I like it I like it! However, I love country music and I adore kd lang.

Favourite food?

I LOVE food. My favourite is a ham and pease pudding stottie!!! (Geordie delicacy!!)

Favourite line from any show?

My Favourite line from a show has to be in Gypsy when Mamma Rose says to Louise in the dressing room just before Louise’s debut strip – “Just remember, you’re a lady. And you are going to be a star”!  It’s such a great line…a very desperate situation but stoic, final and utterly camp!

If you could be anyone else for the day, who would it be?

If I could be anyone else for the day? This is hard…hmmm..I’d probably be the Pope and be deliberately photographed coming out of every gay bar in London with a host of bare chested fellas… (to really annoy the religious anti gay lobby)

How did you get into choreographing?

I always liked choreographing, but I became the resident choreographer on Billy Elliot the Musical and I was massively influenced by Peter Darling whom I worked with closely for 7 years. As you get to a certain age you realise you have to re-invent your path within the industry you love.

You do a lot in the regions, do you believe they are equally as important as the west end?

I absolutely believe the regions are every bit as important as the West End if not more so. It is the frontline of theatre

What show would you love to choreograph ?

I’d love to choreograph Dreamgirls!!!! If any directors are listening out there!!!

I saw Gas Light on Grey Street which you directed so do you prefer choreographing or directing?

I like both. Choreography is more difficult physically, but they are equally mentally demanding. I tend to think my choreography through from a directors perspective though in terms of what is making the character tick. Why are they dancing is always the question, so the intention of the character is always driven through my work.

How did you get to write the degree course in Musical Theatre at Newcastle College?

I was the head of Musical Theatre at Newcastle College at the time they were bringing in the degree course so it seemed natural with my experience that I write it.

With your association with Newcastle how did you feel when the council slashed the Arts budget?

I was absolutely shocked, sad and angry. I just couldn’t believe it!! Thank God for Lee Hall!

If you weren’t a choreographer/director what would you be?

I would definitely work with homeless animals! Or any animals!!

What advice would you give 16 year old Lee?

Don’t smoke (I quit 5 years ago and it’s the best thing I ever did)

What was the last stage show you saw and really enjoyed?

Memphis. It was superb! It gave me the feeling I used to have as a youth when I was just in awe of everyone on the stage

Would you like to dance on stage rather than choreograph?

No, not any more.

With knowing the part have you ever had to step into a part due to performers indisposition?

Yes, I re staged material from Billy Elliot for The Alan Titchmarsh show on ITV. We got to the studio and one of the men called in sick. I was mortified but I stepped in and I was fierce!!!​

Can you tell us what you will be up to next?

I’m currently in rehearsals for the UK and Ireland tour of The Producers. Following this, I’m back to Reykjavik to check on Billy Elliot which I recently re-choreographed, then its off on holiday to Italy at Easter followed by three hugely exciting major projects lined up to be announced shortly which take me through to next year.

More news on leeproud.co.uk and @leeproud

News from York Theatre Royal

GRANT AWARDED TO YOUNG PEOPLE’S THEATRE GROUP

John Lacy and Michael Fieldsend of Rotary Club of York with Access All Areas members

York Theatre Royal’s weekly Access All Areas group has been awarded a grant of £1,250 by the Rotary Club of York. Access All Areas is a free weekly session for 12 to 16 year-olds of all backgrounds, which allows the young people to explore all elements of drama and theatre in a safe and supportive environment.

This spring, members of the group will be taking part in the York Theatre Royal large scale community project In Fog and Falling Snow at the National Railway Museum and also working towards their Bronze level Arts Award qualification. The grant will give valuable support to the group during this project.

York Theatre Royal’s Creative Skills Promoter, Paula Clark, who lead the Access All Areas group said:

This donation to our Access All Areas project means that we can continue to make sure that all young people in York are able to participate in York Theatre Royal activities regardless of their circumstances. This extremely generous grant means that we are able to extend the offer to many more young people in the community and continue to provide a meaningful experience for all participants.

The donation cheque was handed over to members of Access All Areas at the National Railway Museum by Rotary Club of York President John Lacy and President-Elect Michael Fieldsend.

The Rotary Club of York chooses to focus much of its community support towards working on meaningful projects with children and young people in the City.

Michael Fieldsend commented:

When we learned about the Access All Areas group being run by York Theatre Royal, we were impressed with what they were trying to achieve and especially that these young people were working towards a recognised qualification. The opportunity for us to help them take part in the forthcoming community production In Fog and Falling Snow was one we were happy to take on board. Having now met some of the young people in person, we are even happier that we have been able to help.

New members of the Access All Areas group are by referral only. More information can be requested from Paula Clark, [email protected].

Preview of Katherine Jenkins 2015 UK Tour

KATHERINE JENKINS OBE

2015 UK TOUR

Award-winning West End and Broadway performer

JOHN OWEN-JONES

Announced as special guest

 

KATHERINE’S TENTH STUDIO ALBUM

‘HOME SWEET HOME’

RELEASED NOVEMBER 17TH

CELEBRATING HER 10TH ANNIVERSARY IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY 

 

Katherine Jenkins will return to the live arena with a full 21 date UK tour for 2015, culminating at a huge show in her homeland on Saturday 14th March. It has just been confirmed that Award-winning West End and Broadway performer JOHN OWEN-JONES (Les Miserables/Phantom of The Opera) will be appearing a special guest on the whole tour.

 

Katherine’s new tour follows the eagerly anticipated release of her landmark new classical album ‘Home Sweet Home’ on November 17th, through Decca Records. Cherished as one of Britain’s favourite singers, Welsh mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins has achieved meteoric success as the world’s most prolific classical crossover artist her nine studio albums have sold in excess of eight million copies and gone platinum all around the world.

 

She has received numerous accolades for her recordings, including two Classical BRITs for the coveted Album of the Year Award. In 2013, Katherine headlined the Queen’s Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace and was awarded an OBE at the 2014 New Year’s Honours List for her services to music and charity. Katherine has also cemented her position as one of the UK’s greatest exports and in 2013 toured South Africa, the US, China, Abu Dhabi and Europe.

 

Katherine says, “Performing live for my fans is what I love most about being an artist.  I’m so thrilled to be going on tour next year, getting to see you all and performing my new album. I can’t wait.”

 

New album ‘Home Sweet Home’ reflects Katherine’s return to her classical roots and marks a milestone in Katherine’s astonishing career, it has been ten years since the release of her debut offering ‘Premiere’ in 2004 – one of the fastest selling classical albums of all time. Produced by Patrick Hamilton and recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios ‘Home Sweet Home’ sees key collaborations including international star and violin virtuoso David Garrett (Ode To Joy) and Britain’s best loved tenor, Alfie Boe (Barcelona).

 

Katherine’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ tour will see her perform tracks off the new album plus favourites featured throughout her extraordinary career.

 

Special guest John Owen-Jones has enjoyed critical acclaim for his award winning performances in the lead role of Jean Valjean in ‘Les Miserables’ (he remains the youngest actor to have played the role) and the title role in The Phantom of the Opera. John will perform much loved songs such as ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables and ‘Music of The Night’ from The Phantom Of The Opera. After recently returning from the Far East (his first solo show in Tokyo sold out in a record nine minutes!) John is currently in the studio recording his third album for release in March 2015. John says:

 

Having been a fan of her work for a long time, I am absolutely delighted to be appearing alongside Katherine on what I’m sure will be a hugely successful tour.  I can’t wait to be on the tour next spring and sing in some of the finest venues in the country.  I’ll also get to hear Katherine sing every night!”

 

Tickets for Katherine Jenkin’s Home Sweet Home tour are onsale now and are available at www.gigsandtours.com  / www.ticketmaster.co.uk and 24 cc hotlines 0844 811 0051 / 0844 826 2826.

 

Full dates below:

Wed 11-Feb-2015 – Cambridge Corn Exchange

Thu 12-Feb-2015 – Guildford G Live

Sat 14-Feb-2015 – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall

Sun 15-Feb-2015 – Brighton Dome

Tue 17-Feb-2015 – London Royal Festival Hall

Wed 18-Feb-2015 – Bristol Colston Hall

Fri 20-Feb-2015 – Plymouth Pavilions

Sat 21-Feb-2015 – Bournemouth International Centre

Mon 23-Feb-2015 – Sheffield City Hall

Wed 25-Feb-2015 – York Barbican

Thu 26-Feb-2015 – Edinburgh Usher Hall

Sat 28-Feb-2015 – Gateshead Sage 1

Mon 02-Mar-2015 – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Tue 03-Mar-2015 – Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Thu 05-Mar-2015 – Llandudno Venue Cymru Theatre

Sat 07-Mar-2015 – Birmingham Symphony Hall

Sun 08-Mar-2015 – Birmingham Symphony Hall

Tue 10-Mar-2015 – Ipswich Regent

Wed 11-Mar-2015 – Southend Cliff Pavilion

Fri 13-Mar-2015 – Oxford New Theatre

Sat 14-Mar-2015 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

 

www.katherinejenkins.co.uk

twitter.com/kathjenkins


www.johnowenjones.com

The What’s On Stage Awards Review

Prince of Wales Theatre, London – 15 February 2015

Awards concerts are an experience, almost like a show for a show.  Entering the theatre via the red carpet with flashes going off everywhere makes you feel incredibly important and glamorous.

Sitting in the bar, mingling with the great and the good of the theatre world and celeb spotting before the show begins is as entertaining as watching the performances.

But the time came to take our seats in the stalls and watch one of the best concerts by far.

Mel Giedroyc started the evening off with her hilarious song and dance routine “My West End Dream” and then Steve Furst joined her on stage for a comical and amusing presentation of the awards.

For me, one of the best musical numbers of the night is Sophie Louise Dann singing Ideal World from Made In Dagenham.  Dann has an outstanding voice and this one shows off her amazing vocals.  But all the vocals tonight are of world class standard and Beverley Knight belts out a song from the fabulous Memphis  and from Miss Saigon, Rachelle Ann Go and Eva Noblezada give us Movie in my Mind.

By the interval the audience are all itching to see Tom Hiddleston and David Tennant in the stalls bar.  And then its back to the awards.

Starting off part two we have a sensational Rodgers and Hammerstein tribute to start us off.  Followed by a show stopping performance from Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Nathan Amzi and the talented cast of In The Heights; a breathtaking performance from Dogfight’s Laura Jane Matthewson and a thrilling ensemble piece from Sweeney Todd.  All too soon we end the show but boy what an ending by Melanie La Barrie, Amy Lennox and the phenomenal Anna Jane Casey.

Miss Saigon won the night with 9 awards.  But there were some fabulous surprises with the winners and some excellent acceptance speeches.  These are the only awards voted for entirely by the public and it makes the show all the more interesting for it.

Full Winners List

Best Actor in a Play

Sponsored by Radisson Blu Edwardian

© Kwame Lestrade

David Tennant, Richard II

Mark Strong, A View From the Bridge
Richard Armitage, The Crucible
Tom Bateman, Shakespeare in Love
Tom Hiddleston, Coriolanus

Best Actress in a Play

 

© Johan Persson

Billie Piper, Great Britain

Gillian Anderson, A Streetcar Named Desire
Helen McCrory, Medea
Imelda Staunton, Good People
Lucy Briggs-Owen, Shakespeare in Love

Best Actor in a Musical

 

© Matthew Murphy

Jon Jon Briones, Miss Saigon

Alistair Brammer, Miss Saigon
Killian Donnelly, Memphis the Musical
Marti Pellow, Evita
Robert Lindsay, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Best Actress in a Musical

Sponsored by STAR

© Matthew Murphy

Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

Beverley Knight, Memphis the Musical
Gemma Arterton, Made in Dagenham
Jenna Russell, Urinetown the Musical
Madalena Alberto, Evita

Best Supporting Actor
in a Play

© Johan Persson

Mark Gatiss, Coriolanus

Adrian Schiller, The Crucible
David Oakes, Shakespeare in Love
Hadley Fraser, Coriolanus
Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall & Bring
Up the Bodies

Best Supporting Actress
in a Play

© Johan Persson

Vanessa Kirby, A Streetcar Named Desire

Anna Madeley, The Crucible
Deborah Findlay, Coriolanus
Nicola Walker, A View From the Bridge
Samantha Colley, The Crucible

Best Supporting Actor
in a Musical

© Michael Le Poer Trench

Kwang-Ho Hong, Miss Saigon

Ben Forster, Evita
George Maguire, Sunny Afternoon
Hugh Maynard, Miss Saigon
Rolan Bell, Memphis the Musical

Best Supporting Actress
in a Musical

© Michael Le Poer Trench

Rachelle Ann Go, Miss Saigon

Claire Machin, Memphis the Musical
Karis Jack, Urinetown the Musical
Katherine Kingsley, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Samantha Bond, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Best New Play

 

Shakespeare in Love

Great Britain
King Charles III
The Nether
Wolf Hall

Best New Musical

Sponsored by Autograph

Memphis the Musical

Here Lies Love
Made in Dagenham
Sunny Afternoon
Urinetown the Musical

Best Play Revival

 

Coriolanus

Blithe Spirit
The Crucible
Richard II
A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Musical Revival

Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe

Miss Saigon

Evita
The Pajama Game
Porgy and Bess
Sweeney Todd

Best Direction

Sponsored by Managed Networks

© Matthew Murphy

Laurence Connor, Miss Saigon

Christopher Ashley, Memphis the Musical
Gregory Doran, Richard II
Jamie Lloyd, Urinetown the Musical
Yaël Farber, The Crucible

Best Choreography

Sponsored by Capezio

© Francis Loney

Bob Avian & Geoffrey Garratt,Miss Saigon

Ann Yee, Urinetown the Musical
Drew McOnie, In the Heights
Jerry Mitchell, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Sergio Trujillo, Memphis the Musical

Best Set Design

Sponsored by Feast Creative

© Michael Le Poer Trench

Totie Driver & Matt Kinley, Miss Saigon

Bunny Christie, Made in Dagenham
David Gallo, Memphis the Musical
Nick Ormerod, Shakespeare in Love
Soutra Gilmour, Urinetown the Musical

Best Lighting Design

Sponsored by White Light

© Johan Persson

Mark Henderson, Coriolanus

Adam Silverman, Urinetown the Musical
Bruno Poet, Miss Saigon
Howell Binkley, Memphis the Musical
Jon Clark, Made in Dagenham

Best Off-West End Production

 

Sweeney Todd, Twickenham Theatre

Dogfight, Southwark Playhouse
Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory
In the Heights, Southwark Playhouse
Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions, Tabard Theatre

Best Regional Production

Sponsored by Travelzoo

Oliver!, Sheffield Crucible

Guys and Dolls, Chichester Festival Theatre
Gypsy, Chichester Festival Theatre
The Kite Runner, Nottingham Playhouse
Water Babies, Curve Leicester

Best Takeover in a Role

Sponsored by Equity

© Matt Crockett

Kerry Ellis, Wicked

Craige Els, Matilda the Musical
David Hunter, Once
Jennifer DiNoia, Wicked
Michael Watson, Jersey Boys

Best West End Show

Sponsored by Tiger Films

Miss Saigon

Les Misérables
Matilda the Musical
Memphis the Musical
Wicked

 

Theatre Cafe – Shaftesbury Avenue

Not exactly a show but still worthy of a review is the Theatre Cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue.  Diagonally opposite the Queens Theatre home of Les Miserables, this lovely little cafe is so worth a visit.

With the walls adorned with posters, pictures and props from the shows, show music playing in the background (Legally Blonde when we visited) and added extra’s like dressing room mirrors in the stage door toilets.

The staff were lovely, the prices reasonable and the cakes superb.

And there is also the chance to book theatre tickets with your drink, as you can use one of the many booking tablets to see availability and prices and best deals.

It is a really wonderful little place, a gem in the heart of the West End not to be missed

Ghost Stories Review

Arts Theatre, London – 14 February 2015

Its a strange phenomenon, paying good money to be scared silly.  As you sit in the auditorium waiting for the show to start the atmosphere begins to build.  The drip of water, the scary music, all psychologically designed to build the mood before the show begins.  And the conspiracy of fear grows, as we introduce ourselves to random strangers so that when we jump and scream and cry on their shoulder, we are slightly more intimate than crying on a completely random stranger.

From a technical aspect, the show is fascinating.  Relying on minimal lighting and the imagination of the audience to carry it through.  From a visual, sat in the audience, aspect the show is spine-chillingly frightening.  You are warned from the beginning that the show is not for a nervous disposition but the strongest and bravest would find it hard not to jump at the shocking twists and turns that this show puts you through.

The show is pure brilliance, well written, well acted and technically outstanding.  Its closing soon so if you want to see it, and you really should, get there soon

Made In Dagenham Review

Adelphi Theatre, London – 13 February 2015

It defies logic as to why Made In Dagenham is closing.  This show is amazing, it has all the classic ingredients needed for a successful show – music, lyrics, story, incredible acting and singing so why?

Gemma Arterton is outstanding as Rita O’Grady who leads the fight for equal pay.  Sophie -Louise Dann shines as the indomitable Barbara Castle and Naomi Frederick excels as Lisa Hopkins.  Three fabulous women fighting to be acknowledged in a man’s world.

With equality one of the current buzz words bandied around in education, this show demonstrates just how far women have come, but how far we still have to go.  Made In Dagenham should be part of the national curriculum educating the children of tomorrow how the women of yesterday helped to shape their futures

It has humour a plenty with Mark Hadfield hamming it up in his guise of Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the brilliant Stephen Furst as American Tooley in his 10 gallon hat.

The whole cast are magnificent and its tragic that the show didn’t get its chance to educate more before receiving its closing notice.  Lets hope the west ends loss is the touring circuits gain and Made In Dagenham isn’t lost to the future for good

20 Questions with ….. Sabrina Aloueche

 

Sabrina Aloueche

Producer and performer and west end leading lady Sabrina Aloueche answered 20 questions

Lets start with some favourites

 

  1. Favourite show (whether you have been in it or not)?

Les Misérables

  1. Favourite book?

“What we talk about when we talk about love.” Raymond Carver.

  1. Favourite theatre?

The Palace Theatre.

  1. Favourite song?

Let it Go. (JOKING)

Probably either ‘Nobody’s side’ chess or “Make them hear you”- Ragtime

  1. Favourite music?

Rock

  1. Favourite food?

PIZZA

  1. Favourite line from any show?

“they think I’m a lesbian cos I don’t wear pastels..”! From We Will Rock You

  1. What was is your favourite role?

That’s a tough one, I’m going to be boring and say they’ve all been my favourites!

  1. What was your first role?

Little Cosette in Les Miserables at The Palace Theatre

  1. And, what role would you love to play ?

Mary in JCS, Fantine-Les Mis, Ellen-Miss Saigon, I’d love to be in Hair and ANYTHING in Cats…! More than anything else I would love to create a role, and be allowed the artistic freedom to develop it.

  1. You played Young Cosette in LM, would you like to go back and play adult Cosette now?

I don’t think I could sing it!! It is very high!

  1. You are the reason my daughter died her hair purple at 14, are you happy to be identified as a particular role ie Scaramouche?

More than happy! I had a lot of teenage girls write in whilst I played the role, some were victims of being bullied at school, some felt they lacked identity, I had no advice for them at the time other than the fact that I was bullied and felt I lacked identity as a child, that I didn’t fit in, but in hindsight “trying to fit in” is where you’d be going wrong! I’d rather stand alone and stand out!

  1. You are the Producer of West End Fest, are you happier on stage or off?

Definitely happier on stage!

Producing a show (albeit a small scale charity production twice a year) is no easy feat! Myself and Parnell Page share the role and we pull each others hair out by the end every time.

Its nice to live out of your comfort zone sometimes however. And CRY-UK (the charity we raise money for) is a hugely worthwhile cause.

The end result for both are equal but as for the process of each, I’d pick being on stage!

  1. You’ve appeared as a guest artist on other performers CD’s, will you be bringing out your own Greatest Hits?

I don’t think so. Never say never, but it’s not something I have the time to dedicate myself to at the moment. Happy to sing with my lovely friends on their beautiful albums though!

  1. If you weren’t an amazing singer what would you be?

An even better singer?! I’d love to be that..!

Probably work in Entertainment PR in some capacity.

  1. What advice would you give 16 year old Sabrina?

Cherish the nights you stayed up until 4 am listening to musicals, reading through programmes, spending all your savings on watching shows.., You can’t learn  passion, bottle that inspiration, or plan for those moments of pure creativity.

  1. What was the last stage show you saw and really enjoyed?

Urinetown!! Loved it, and City of Angels at the Donmar!

  1. Would you like to act in a play and not sing?

I would love to try my hand at acting without song 😉 ! I don’t know if I could though… musical theatre actor here.. the jazz hands might start to shake..!

In all seriousness it is something I would like to do at some point.

  1. If you could be anyone else for the day, who would it be?

The Queen. Fact.

  1. Can you tell us what you will be up to next?

Auditions, along with the rest of the world!

 

 

The Business of Murder Review

Civic Theatre, Darlington – 10 February 2015

Middle Ground Theatre Company present Richard Harris’s west end hit The Business of Murder in Darlington this week.

This 3 act – 3 performer play focuses on a flat in London in the early 80’s.  Why has Mr Stone (Robert Gwilym) invited playwright Dee (Joanna Higson) and Policeman Hallett (Paul Opacic) to his home?  How do they know each other? Does anyone care?

Gwilym does help to lift this show.  His dancing to Judith Durham and The New Seekers is a joy to watch and the more manic he becomes the more endearing he gets.  But even the professionalism of his acting doesn’t help this play.  Its very wordy and interminably long.  Up to the interval plods along slowly setting the scene, but without managing to engage with the actors.  And if you don’t engage how can you be entertained? The problem with this production, is that the play, a traditional cat-and-mouse psychological thriller, lacks tension. There are no emotional peaks and valleys, no breathtaking moments of anxiety and no drama. And there should be. ”The Business of Murder” is reduced to a long-winded discourse on the nature of victimization and whether the end of an event is justified by the means of achieving it.

It has all the ingredients of a classic, but to take the food analogy further imagine you were expecting a chocolate cake and were presented with a digestive biscuit.  An edible biscuit but a huge disappointment when you were expecting chocolate cake.  And this is what you have here.  Its watchable but disappointing.

Its as if the actors have all rehearsed separately but have yet to gel on stage.  There is no cohesion.  In fairness it is very early in the tour and they may still find the spark that ignites this show.  In Darlington until Saturday