Reviews

House Guest

House Guest

Most of the time we, at Scene One Plus, are reviewing amateur productions – sometimes they have professional help, but the actors are mostly amateurs. Sometimes it shows… and allowances are made; at other times I feel that a production is good enough to be professional; there are even times when I wonder whether the amateurs are better than the professionals. The London Repertory Players is made up of professionals and the cast list in the programme contains a string of credits for these actors from stage and screen – some of them veterans of TV sitcoms, soaps and detective
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Wait Until Dark

Wait Until Dark

In some ways, a thriller is the most difficult type of play to pull off. Even the flattest comedy may have one or two lines that make you smile, while the more cerebral play, however badly staged or performed, can be thought-provoking and open up new ideas. But a thriller which isn’t thrilling is a waste of everybody’s time. Happily, that’s the last thing that can be said about Swanage Rep’s Wait Until Dark. On the contrary, it is gripping from the first moment, and the tension builds and builds to the almost unbearable climax. This is partly because it
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Private Lives

Private Lives

Noël Coward is one of those playwrights whose work brings a particular challenge. It’s rather like that line from The Importance of being Earnest: does one pander to the expectation or fight it? The answer to both, I suspect, lies somewhere between the two and involves going back to the text and starting again with a mind as clear as possible of audience expectations and the temptation to imitate. Those clipped tones, stylish gestural mannerisms and looks need to arise out of rather than being slavishly, even parodically, imposed on the actors’ performances. In the early stages of last night’s
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Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances

Going to the theatre should be a pleasurable all-round experience, and seeing a play at The Mowlem is an experience unlike almost any other. The bar where you sip your interval drink, admiring the evening light on Swanage Bay, juts out over the sea so that the waves are actually breaking beneath you and you feel that you have become part of that glorious panorama. The fifty-year-old theatre is showing its age a bit but remains a crucial centre for the Swanage community, so the success of its recent repertory seasons is a welcome boost to its finances and has
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The Wind In The Willows

The Wind In The Willows

What a delight; from entering the wonderful grounds of the Island House, Romsey to be greeted by the cast in full costume welcoming us, I was captivated already. What a fantastic backdrop for this show with the cast and crew coming off and on from the sides; the minute they came into view they were all in character. There was so much to see I was afraid of missing something. I must mention the children from the beginning, as I thought they were superb; I could hear every word of their diction, they portrayed humour, sadness and concern throughout. They
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4000 Days

4000 Days

London Repertory Players’ fourth season, this time extended to five productions, continues with award-winning West End and Broadway playwright Peter Quilter’s 2016 play about a man who has been in a coma for three weeks. That might not sound particularly promising but – and it’s no spoiler to share this – the character in question, Michael, soon awakes, minus any memory of the past eleven years. There follow simultaneous battles: Michael’s own struggle to reclaim the past; his partner’s battle to reclaim Michael; his mother’s similar battle; and a war of words, personalities and emotions between the latter two. It
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