Reviews

Viva Victoria

Victoria Wood’s name first came into my consciousness way back in the early 1970s when she had a regular spot on Esther Rantzen’s That’s Life, singing and playing self-penned topical songs. Within a very few years she had established herself as a comic writer/comedienne extraordinaire, and she continued to be a familiar face on our TV screens until shortly before her untimely death less than a year ago. Most, if not all, TV tributes to this super-talented lady have consisted of archive material of Victoria herself performing, so a local company’s decision to base half an evening on such a
Read more

The Shining

The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson, is regarded as one of the cinema’s most shocking and influential horror films, not only tearing the veneer from madness and family conflict but digging its gory fingers deep into those topics at their starkest and rawest. So it is a brave choice for the students of Arts University Bournemouth in what they term ‘a devised, immersive performance’: one which must provide a major learning experience for those taking part. A writer, Jack, takes on the job of winter caretaker at an isolated hotel, accompanied by his wife, Wendy, and
Read more

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
Read more

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
Read more

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
Read more

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.
Read more