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JN

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

In this Austen classic, adapted by Jessica Swale, we follow the fortunes of the Dashwood family. In particular, it is the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, sisters who respectively represent the ‘sense’ and ‘sensibility’ of the title. The three sisters are excellent. Michele Arkle as Elinor performs the role with great integrity and I applaud her for such a strong performance – it cannot have been easy learning all those lines! Emma Davis as Marianne gives a lovely portrayal of her character and her diction is impeccable. The star of the trio is Shana Cooper as the witty Margaret,
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The Vodka Hunters

The Vodka Hunters

Blurb can have a heavy influence on the decision to see a show, especially a new one.  Adjectives are a must, yet run with them too far and it can be a turn-off.  In this show’s blurb there is much to like, for example ‘site specific’ and ‘Nell Leyshon’ (granted the latter isn’t an adjective but it’s a good indicator of quality work).  Go that extra mile and stick in ‘ground-breaking’, ‘outsider artists’ and ‘visceral’ and the alarm bells start ringing. Describe something as pertaining to deeply felt emotional reactions and Captain Cynicism kicks in.  Emotions are like farts; you
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Jingo

Jingo

Jingo is a stage adaptation, by Stephen Briggs, of one of the Discworld novels by the late Terry Pratchett. There are millions of enthusiasts for the works of Terry Pratchett but I came to this play as a complete Pratchett virgin, having never read any of them. Interestingly, the opening night audience was split between people like me, with little or no knowledge of Discworld, and at least one Pratchett enthusiast who had travelled all the way from Wincanton to see this show. Whether or not it bears any resemblance to the 1997 novel by the late lamented author, let
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Moonfleet

Moonfleet

Salisbury Playhouse’s Original Drama programme is always interesting, not least because of its emphasis on work with a West Country connection. Few novels are more firmly rooted in this part of the world than Moonfleet, so a new musical version was a strong candidate for the programme and keeps up the high standards for which it has become known. The book and lyrics are by the Playhouse’s own artistic director, Gareth Machin, who also directs. The music is by Russell Hepplewhite, a young composer with a growing reputation, whose works have been premiered at the Royal Albert Hall, Glyndebourne and
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G.O.N.A.D.S Does Pinafore

G.O.N.A.D.S Does Pinafore

Having escaped from this totally bonkers evening almost completely unscathed, and having even won a raffle prize – I shall treasure that tin of pilchards – I have arrived home to discover in the programme (the programme within a programme, that is) that it had been erroneously reported that I was ‘missing in Acton’. How such a false rumour came about I cannot fathom, as I have never been to Acton in my life – but it just shows the lengths to which some reviewers will go in their efforts to see off rivals. I must say, though, that I
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Flat Spin

Alan Ayckbourn is nothing if not versatile, and in Flat Spin he moves away from the domestic comedy for which he is most well-known to a comedy-thriller. The complicated plot is typical of his ingenuity. Unsuccessful actress Rosie Seymour is flat-sitting in a flat owned by a Joanna Rupelford and meets neighbour Sam Berryman. A romance quickly develops, but Sam is called away and Rosie is visited by two sinister strangers. When Sam returns, it is obvious that he knows them, and Rosie realises that she is far, far out of her depth. The play revolves around Rosie, who is
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