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Chiltern Shakespeare Company



Review: The Taming of the Shrew
Local theatre does not get any better than this! Hall Barn in Beaconsfield is the idyllic setting for this energetic, witty and visually beautiful outdoor production of Taming of the Shrew by the Chiltern Shakespeare Company. It cracks along at a rollicking pace and is utterly captivating from start to finish.

The striking set of an Italian piazza is adorned with pillars, a fountain, a trompe l’oeil of Padua and beautiful plants and benches, a perfect backdrop for the sumptuous and, at times, amusing costumes.

Emily Taylor-Callingham shines as the fiery, hot-blooded and misunderstood Kate. She storms onto the scene and drags us kicking and screaming on her journey, her expressive face capturing everything from indignant rage to great tenderness.

Jamie Kwasnik is impressive as the deliciously arrogant Petrucio, delighting us with his absurd mood swings, childish petulance and bewildering energy as he willfully attempts to tame his shrew.

Jean Warner as Grumio along with the rest of Petrucio’s servants are a joy to watch and provide many of the play’s greatest laughs. But the entire ensemble worked seamlessly as a team to bring one of Shakespeare’s more thought-provoking plays into glorious light.

A special mention to the talented Suzie McPherson who, as well as her vivacious portrayal of Biondello, choreographed all of the movement, fights and lively tussles.

This is a fast-paced, highly physical and comedic production and definitely not one to be missed. If you have not already booked, do not delay!

You can arrive two hours before the show and have a picnic in the enchanting grounds of Hall Barn Estate. Do not let the weather deter you as the audience is safely under cover, but you might want to bring a blanket for later.

The play continues its run today (Wed) until Saturday (June 20) at 8pm with an afternoon matinee at 2pm on Saturday.

Book online at
www.chiltern-shakespeare.co.uk or call 08700 66 77 20.

 

Posted on 18/06/2015

 

Congress Players


Entertainment Manchester

Review: Les Misérables - Oldham Coliseum
Les Misérables is the world's most popular musical having played continuously in the West End for almost the last 30 years and featured some of the best known names in musical theatre. Despite being panned by the critics in the beginning the show has gone on to play in 42 different countries and is the second longest running show in musical theatre history.

And now the show has arrived at the Oldham Coliseum where Congress Players are performing the schools version. Performed entirely by a youth cast this is no easy task but this production wouldn't look out of place on the West End Stage. From the superb cast to the imaginative and breathtaking set you are certain to leave the theatre with a smile on your face and maybe a tear in your eye.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption. It is a fight for freedom and honor that epitomises the human spirit.

Ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

Jack Dolan plays the role of Valjean, and you forget watching him of his tender years producing a performance of the highest quality. His vocal control is floorless and performance of ‘Bring Him Home’ pitch perfect rivalling anyone before him who has performed the piece.

Josh Hankey as Javert is delightfully menacing throughout as he pursues Valjean across France and his demise in act 2 is both a vocal and visual treat.

Fantine played by Amy McDonough and Georgia Taylor as Cosette effortlessly play their respective roles with McDonough’s act one performance of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ having the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention.

Eponine’s (Phoebe Coop) heart wrenching ‘On my Own’ was as equally well acted as it was sung and showcased the power and control she has in her voice. Jake Thompson is a likeable Maurius rescued from the barricade by Valjean.

Master and Madame Thenardier (Tom Shiels and Emily Clarke) bring some humor to the show as the vile and light fingered landlord and landlady. Their chemistry on stage is a joy to watch, a real audience favourite.

Not forgetting Riccardo Atherton as Gavroche who commanded the stage whenever he was on it with his cheeky urchin look. His final scene was heart breaking and acted sublimely for one so young.

It is difficult to put into words just how good this production is. From the moment the orchestra under the baton of Anthony Quimby played the first note until the curtain call you cannot help be enthralled by what you are seeing on stage. Choreography from Jean Johnson added to the spectacle.

There is nothing amateur about this production at all. It is rare to see such all-round quality in an amateur production but this show delivers on every level, exceeding even your wildest expectations. Director John Wood has created a masterpiece.

If you can get down to the Coliseum before it closes on Saturday, do it! It will be one of the best experiences of musical theatre you will ever have.

Reviewer: Paul Downham

Reviewed: 9th June 2015

 

Posted on 17/06/2015

 

Sweets for Addicts

Reviews for Hame - Performed 10th - 14th March 2015
The Shed, Shawlands, Glasgow.


Presented by Sweet For Addicts, a community company working with families impacted by drug problems, the play is rough, raw and sometimes sentimental, as old grandad Jimmy O’Donnell suffers a massive stroke, his quiet son Michael tries to help, and his high-flying granddaughter Annmarie returns from her lucrative job in London to visit and becomes drawn in to the referendum Yes campaign. For all its cheesy soap-opera moments and long blackouts between short scenes, though, Hame tackles some of the realities of Scottish life over the past year with an energy that often seems to elude better-funded companies. There are rows about the referendum, crises over Jimmy’s homecare, a touching recovery powered by the soft Irish singing of one of his carers, and a cast of 12 all working hard to deliver a thoughtful story of Glasgow life now. At the heart of the play, there are two gorgeous performances from Eve Menzies and Gill McGowan as Annmarie and her friend Kirsty; two young Glasgow women from different traditions glimpsing the chance of a new Scotland, while the older generation stand by counselling caution, or mourning lost glories.

Seen on 10.03.15

Reviewed by Joyce McMillan - The Scotman Newspaper

 

Posted on 01/06/2015

 




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