Reviews

Oliver!

The campus is currently awash with traffic lights and lack of some immediate parking, so attendees should definitely not leave it to the last minute to arrive for this very traditional production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, solidly and faithfully directed by Roger Lamb and choreographed by Sarah Hogger. The boys and girls are very well-disciplined and focussed throughout. On an exceptionally well-lit stage (lighting design by Martin Whittaker), shadows play a key role: characters emerge from the gloom to reveal their presence in Oliver’s twisted search for love and eventual security. Joe Mawby brings suitable melancholy to the title role: I particularly liked the change of
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Worst Wedding Ever

My daughter, who helps manage a theatre in Wales, tells me that the atmosphere about the place is much more ‘buzzy’ when the current show is one that their own in-house creative team have staged, rather than one that has come in on tour. That buzz must be felt quite often at Salisbury Playhouse, who have a regular programme of their own productions, including this one and two more in the next three months. Worst Wedding Ever is actually a re-staging of a play first premiered at Salisbury in 2014. The author is Chris Chibnall, who since then has become
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Constellations

Constellations is a completely new play to me; I had no idea what to expect and walking into an auditorium to be faced with a black box open stage and carefully arranged balloons didn’t give me much more of a clue. What evolves over an hour and a quarter is a very intense, complex two- handed snapshot of human relationships and passions. Paul Nelson’s expert direction ensures that every possible way of delivering the similar lines within each snippet of conversation between the two characters is explore, in every conceivable way from either protagonist’s perspective. It is not the easiest
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

A dark, cold evening as January staggers into February, not much on the TV and the weather a bit grim – but if you go down to the New Forest, you’re in for a great surprise! The Burley Players will entertain you with their 2017 pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I was interested to read in the programme as a packed audience waited for the show to begin that Little Snow White was first published in German by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but the fairy tale of Snow White is thought to originate from the Middle Ages.
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The Hundred and One Dalmatians

Dalmatians Pongo and Missis (and their human pets, Mr and Mrs Dearly) are eagerly expecting their first litter of puppies and are as excited as any new parents-to-be could be. But awaiting their puppies’ arrival with almost as much anticipation is the avaricious Cruella De Vil, obsessive wife of a rich, busy furrier, who has eyes on their beautifully spotted skins as fashion couture…. Helen Young is engaging as Pongo, confident in her asides and monologues to the audience and making an enchanting couple with Lauren Phillips as Missis. Tilly Emm is also very charming as the foster mother to
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Much Ado About Panto

‘Alas poor Shakespeare, I knew him well’: and so this interesting choice of pantomime subject sends its audience on a bizarre journey of an Elizabethan romp, including a visit from Good Queen Bess herself (Julia Wheeler), beautifully bewigged and bejewelled, alongside potatoes-obsessed Sir Walter Raleigh (Alison Pugh). Various Shakespearean components arrive in the form of famous quotes and nods to plays, including Macbeth in the opening witches’ toil and trouble and thereafter Romeo and Juliet and his lesser-known blockbuster about a cheesy superhero wearing very tight pants. Rob Beadle brings his usual energy and stage presence to the role of Billy Shakespeare and Drew
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