Tag Archives: Theatre

Jane Eyre Tour

It is a reasonably well known tale, orphaned child reluctantly brought up in disdain by Aunt, sent off to an ‘educational institution’ at the age on ten. Many years later the child as an adult is a teacher in the same institution, working for bed and board, wishing for something better. She secures a post of Governess at an isolated mansion for a child, where Jane for the first time has freedom, warmth from friendship, and a sense of inner contentment. When the master returns from his travels, his aggressive demeanour, their differing stations in life, her straightforwardness, fuel a tender passion. But there is a heavy secret, locked in the attic is his mad first wife. When Jane discovers the truth she runs away from the lies and the liars as well as trying to distance herself from the distress and disappointment, however something draws her back, and when she returns she finds the mansion in ruins and Mr Rochester blinded from injuries. 

Both my sister and I had seen several adaptations of this classic Charlotte Brontë story.  As this was a National Theatre production we knew it was not going to be the traditional theatrical setting, however as we took our seats the stage was set with what looked like a grown-up sized childs playground climbing frame. Slowly the auditorium began to fill but with just five minutes before curtain up, there were still more than half the seats vacant. The complete cast of 12 took up their starting positions.  Whilst the dialogue, accents and costume stayed close to the original story, the staging was contemporary and sometimes difficult to properly grasp its concept and symbolism. The introjection of music and singing sometimes felt disconnected. By the third act seeing the quiet cast move and climb up and down the various ladders and stairs without seemingly purpose, became rather annoying and children climbing in the playground.

This in no way means the performance was bad. The actors did a brilliant job of portraying the various characters, and by far the most enjoyable was a bearded gentleman who played the part of Pilot the dog, who often raised a mild laughter from the audience with his instantly recognisable dog like antics. The actor portraying the arrogant Mr Rochester brought with it a sense of distraction, of brooding resentment of how his life had been mapped out for him by his father without making him evil or wicked.

For us the thing missing from the production was the sense of a sinister secret. In everything we have seen or read there was always a sense of foreboding, of Jane being told not to go into the attic, of sounds and happenings that indicate all is not right. There was absolutely none of this at all throughout the whole performance, only twice was manic laughter heard. For us it was a significant element that was missing.

With a mixture of live music and recorded sound effects these had a tendency to drown out the dialogue of the actors, and on occasion I felt I had missed a vital piece of information that carried an element of the story. This is not unique to this production but something I have experienced at other performances at this Theatre.


Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Books, Films, Review


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The Play That Goes Wrong

The Comley Polytechnic Am Dram group ‘attempt’ to stage the acclaimed murder mystery, the leaders directorial debut (pronounced day-boo) “The Murder At Haversham Manor” set in the 1920’s. They are excited to bring this to the stage as  their limited cast and tight budgets have somewhat hampered their past productions of James And The Peach, Snow White and a few Tall Broad Fellows, and Cat.  However not everything goes to script!

The fun starts before the start, as the auditorium is filling the stage hands are asking if anyone has seen a dog, a springer spaniel with brown ears called Winston. On stage there is a door that won’t stay closed, every time someone closes, slams it, pushes and holds it closed, it slowly opens, of course at the start of the first act it sticks resolutely shut. The mantle shelf keeps falling down and an audience member is enlisted to hold it while a stagehand gets enthusiastic with sticky tape.

From beginning to end there are numerous mishaps of physical, verbal, set and props. But stoically the play must go on. The split second timing of stunts and interaction is incredible. The whole audience were in fits and waves of laughter throughout, I am sure we drowned out the Take That gig at the football stadium. The dexterity of positioning, the glamorous fiancé of the murdered Lord, the flamboyant over acting of the lord’s Brother in Law, the faithful butler who had the difficult words written on his hand or cuff which he mispronounced (morose, as mo-rose, cyanide as Ki-an-idd, philanthropist as Philand-rope etc). The slap stick antics of trying to move the corpse onto the stretcher, or when trying haul the unconscious fiancé through the window makes you wonder why they are not covered to bruises or marks because dumbies are not used in place. 

Valiantly battling on as the stage collapses around them, we reach the denouement, the Police Inspector did it.

This absolutely is the most hilarious entertainment I’ve ever seen. I’d go again, tonight, to see it and strongly recommend you do too. To this, or any other Mischief Comedy productions, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and The Bank Robbery That Goes Wrong.  But take hankies, or a hand towel, you will be crying with laughter!


Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Life, Review


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Running Wild

Last night Big Sis and I went to see this amazing play, an adaptation of Michael Morpergo’s 2009 novel about the Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia in 2004.  Lily Macready was riding Oona the 12-year old elephant along the beach, but she was behaving awkwardly, wanting to turn away from the flat calm waters, her flight or fight senses took hold and she took off deep into the rainforest as the devastating wave hit the shores taking the lives of many and destroying countless buildings.  The story details how Lily learns to understand Oona and how this majestic animal protects and guides her young charge. Stumbling into the dark dangerous world of greedy gun wielding animal hunters and bullying farmers burning the forest to plant plams to make the highly profitable palm oil (used in many products from soap and shampoo to cooking oils and convenience foods). Eventually stumbling into an animal sanctuary, sunburnt, shot, dehydrated and exhausted and being reunited with her Grandma.

I was not prepared for the play to be so dark and violent in places, something which noticeably upset the young children in the audience. The plot brought attention to the environmental plight of the region, the global zealous need for commodities and the cruel lengths the ruthless go to exploiting that market. 

Oona the elephant is mesmerising, her puppeteers seemingly effortlessly bring life to this charismatic character. The orangutans were lively, cheeky and the babies (being hunted to be sold as pets) were utterly mischievous. Even the tiny details as the fire flies were completely believable. There was a palpable gasp from the audience as the tiger was carried into the hunters camp, dead, valuable as a skin, a trophy, medicine, even though earlier we had seen the same tiger attempting to attack Lily and Oona. 

I would have liked Oona’s trumpet call to be a little louder, as compared to the volume and depth of the orangutans and forest noises it was almost overpowered. Also, we did not really get a sense of time Lily was missing, whether it was a couple of days or a couple of weeks.  But none the less it was a very engaging performance.

After coming home I took a look online to see if I could find out a bit more, and ended up confusing myself further. I thought the story was based on a true life event, although there was a story of a child being taken into the forest on the back of an elephant, Michael Morpergo’s book tells the tale of a boy called Billy, yet the play is a girl called Lily.  There was very little information about what Lily had experienced, or whether she stayed in Indonesia or returned to the UK, whether her father had died prior to the holiday and whether her Mother was killed in the Tsunami, key elements in the plot.

Never the less, I would recommend going to see the performance.


Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Books, Life, people, Review


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Last week my Sister and I went to see Cats at the city theatre royal.  Neither of us were particularly ‘up’ on the show, like most we knew the song Memory and Magical Mister Mistoffelees [yes I had to google for the spelling], but other than that we were at a loss.  I was aware it was strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot’s Old Possom’s Book Of Practical Cats, but had never read the book.

The set was a brilliant set of rubbish even cascading over the edge, little did we know that the cats would frequently run from the stage over the front and up the aisle.  The cast were amazing, such a simple word for what was an awesome performance, it was balletic, acrobatic, contemporary with nods back to the chorus line days, it was energized without being frantic, it was calm without being dull.  You can only but wonder at the fitness and stamina of each dancer as they hold position almost better than the Russian State Ballet dancers I saw in February.  The agility and nuances of movement were the fine detailing, they seemed to have that enviable ability as cats do to balance on a pin head and defy gravity while looking so serene and a little smug.

There is not a story as such, it does not follow a plot but it is a collection of different styles of cats, their antics and their cattitudes.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

As we drove home, we had to stop at some traffic lights in the city and there sat a cat, waiting for the green man [or the beeps] before trotting across the road and he sat and waited for the next lot too.


Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Uncategorized



Russian State Ballet – Swan Lake


Yesterday afternoon we went to the Theatre Royal to see the Russian State Ballet and Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.  It was superb.

It takes a while to realise who is whom and what the story is [even knowing it before hand] because it is the nuances of movement and mild gestures that take the place of dialogue.  I wil admit though that the very traditional costuming emphasised every leg muscle and movement, the bums of steel and a seam that a proctologist would need instruments to find!  The simplicity of costume and set focused the viewer and drew you further in.  The agility and presence of these dancers was astounding, the poise, grace and softness of them was melting.  Little do you truly realise how much time is spent holding a position, or being balanced on one foot.  It was not acrobatic, ballet should not be in my opinion].  We hope they return again next year, as we sould certainly go and see another of their performances.

Swan Lake is a good v evil love story. Odette is a swan by day and beautiful lady by night, Sebastian is the heir-aparent Prince who has come of age and must seek a wife [or Mother will].  He finds and falls in love with Odette, whose spell can only be broken by a true love, but they are spied by the evil Rothbart.  At the Grand Ball where the Queen has assembled the most beautiful princesses from whom Sebastian must choose, a last minute stranger appears, Rothbart and his black swan, looking and dancing exactly like Odette, Sebastian becomes enchanted by this doppleganger Odil and professes love and agrees to marry.  Discovering too late that he has been duped he returns to the Lake and to Odette.

There are several different endings.  This performance went with the heartbroken Prince fighting with the evil Rothbart resulting in them both being drowned, leaving Odette alone to grieve for her lost true love.


Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Uncategorized