Saturday, August 13

South East

Home, I’m Darling – Frinton Summer Theatre
South East

Home, I’m Darling – Frinton Summer Theatre

‘I’m disgracefully happy,’ said Johnny, grinning like a cheesy dad from the ads. But it was a lie. And so, begins the plot of ‘Home, I’m Darling’, Laura Wade’s new dark comedy about relationships. Judy (Sarah Lambie) takes voluntary redundancy to live the life of her dreams – to become a 1950s housewife and look after her husband and their home. But this isn’t your ordinary ‘playing at a role’, Judy wants the full-on immersive experience. Their house is a shrine to the 1950s (replete with original fridge) and the set and costume design are a wonder to behold (I very much enjoyed Judy’s copious outfits). Judy is the perfect housewife any man could wish for. Set today, but looking back to yesteryear, opens a whole can of nostalgia and gives voice to the role of women in the home an...
A Bunch of Amateurs – Frinton Summer Theatre
South East

A Bunch of Amateurs – Frinton Summer Theatre

In a world where everything is so complicated and heavy with subtext, there’s something to be said of a play that offers light hearted relief. ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman is a disarmingly simple comedy ripe for community theatres and a summer where we all need a bit of a lift. Fading Hollywood star Jefferson Steele (Nigel Barber) has been duped by his agent to thinking he’s taking a gig at the infamous birthplace of Shakespeare. Only when he arrives from the USA, he discovers he’s playing the lead role of King Lear at a tiny Suffolk village called Stratford-upon-nowhere with a bunch of am dram characters trying to save their village theatre from developers – while Jefferson is trying to save his career. Dorothy the director/ driver/ fool/ insert multiple role...
Ghosts of the Titanic – Frinton Summer Theatre
South East

Ghosts of the Titanic – Frinton Summer Theatre

What do you do when the ‘unsinkable’ sinks? The Titanic sank 110 years ago, but ‘Ghosts of the Titanic’ presents conflicting theories as to why the ship sank and who may have benefited, making this a relevant modern day psychological drama. Emma Hinton (Alex Constantinidi) is an English girl who has travelled to America to find out the truth of why the Titanic sunk. She has a key reason to know - her fiancé was playing in the band and lost his life on that fateful journey. Enter Molloy (William Meredith) an alleged journalist and his newspaper boss, Swanson (Hilary Tones), and you have a tale fit for any decent conspiracy theorist. What is fascinating is the weaving of facts within a fictional play. I did not know, for example, that J P Morgan of American banking fame, was the owner...
Ladies in Lavender – Frinton Summer Theatre
South East

Ladies in Lavender – Frinton Summer Theatre

To any newbie visiting Frinton Summer Theatre for the first time there are some particularly quaint English traditions that will mark out this experience as something different to the norm. The first being the national anthem is played before the performance commences (and you must stand). The second is the raffle after the interval where a lucky ticket holder can win anything from a bottle of gin to a gift voucher. Frinton Summer Theatre is now in its 81st year and started the season with ‘Ladies in Lavender’, a play adapted from a star-studded 2004 film, which was originally based on a 1908 short story by William J Locke. With such a heritage you may wonder if over 100 years later the message has got confused, but I’m pleased to report the themes of love, loss, desire and jealousy ar...
Tell me on a Sunday – Frinton Summer Theatre
South East

Tell me on a Sunday – Frinton Summer Theatre

Tell me on a Sunday may be the smallest musical Andrew Lloyd Webber has ever written, but as a one-woman musical, it packs enough punch to keep the audience enthralled. The key to this success, in a Frinton Summer Theatre first, is the casting of Shona White and the accompanying live six-piece band. White, whose credits include Mamma Mia, West Side Story and Wicked, is clearly used to a big stage; she has a big voice and a big presence – precisely what you need to carry off a one-woman show. Tell me on a Sunday is the story of an ordinary English girl journeying to, and across America, looking for love. Her romantic misadventures are hapless and humorous and feel very Bridget Jones. This was originally written in the 1970s, a time when the male gaze and women defining themselves thr...
An Evening with Professor von Goosechaser – Brighton Fringe
South East

An Evening with Professor von Goosechaser – Brighton Fringe

An Evening with Professor von Goosechaser, written and performed by Adam Nightingale, is a mock lecture on the complex field of monsterology, and seeks to answer the question of whether or not the supernatural creatures plaguing the seventeenth century are real, or vicious anti-Catholic propaganda spun out by the Puritans. The esteemed Professor is accompanied by Marco (Mark “el durmiente” Nightingale) a guitarist who plays in a beautiful fingerpicking style which emphasises the medieval mood of the show. Remaining comically nonplussed throughout, Marco’s bored demeanour and minimal responses emphasise the dry humour utilised throughout the piece. The show makes wry nods to today’s world, including the presence of a plague, which the Professor says has come from demons. At the openi...
Devil’s Food Cake – Brighton Fringe
South East

Devil’s Food Cake – Brighton Fringe

Devil’s Food Cake, written and directed by Marcia Kelson, is a dark and emotional drama, written for online performance, which explores the bewildering and overwhelming world of anorexia and its effect on both the patient and their loved ones. The play tells the story of Sophie (Eden Vansittart) who is living with anorexia and the efforts her Mum, Jenny (Lesley Ann Jones), Dad, Frank (David Jones) and sister, Katie (Eliza Jones) are making to persuade her to eat. In their desperation they sign up for family therapy sessions with Jasmine (Caroline Salter). When the play opens Sophie’s actions seem almost reasonable as her apparently overprotective mother tries to prevent her following a plant-based diet, for the planet, and going for a run to keep healthy. It quickly becomes clear ho...
Shakespeare (She/Her) – Brighton Fringe
South East

Shakespeare (She/Her) – Brighton Fringe

Three Chairs and a Hat’s Shakespeare’s (She/Her), directed by Wayne T Brown, is a short collection of Shakespearean monologues and verse all performed by women, in contemporary settings. Utilising reality TV, mobile phones and subtle references to today’s climate, it is a varied compilation of well performed pieces. The show opens with Delena Gabbidon’s witty and devious portrayal of Ms Quickly. Swiftly changing her clothes before speaking, Gabbidon creates a clandestine atmosphere as she reveals the secrets of the people around her, taking her on a rollercoaster of emotions supported by strong body language and mime. We are then taken to a beautiful park with birds, animals and a mother (Jo Lainchbury) playing happily with her child as she narrates Sonnet 15. This is a peaceful and...
The Old House – Brighton Fringe
South East

The Old House – Brighton Fringe

Written and performed by Kate Maravan, ‘The Old House’, was inspired by her own experience of coming to terms with her mother’s Alzheimer’s.  Directed by Kath Burlinson, the play does not fall into the category of monologue, as even though only one person performs, Maravan’s ability to move between characters, creates a feeling of two very different personas on stage.  A moving tale of a mother and daughter trying to navigate their changing relationship which is evolving constantly as the side effects of the Alzheimer’s begins to have an impact.  We meet the two of them, as they take a trip to their old house, which brings back fond memories, as they spend time together at the beach and reminisce about past times.  This is a beautifully written play, with Maravan...
Nevergreen – Brighton Fringe
South East

Nevergreen – Brighton Fringe

The wonderful’s Nevergreen, written by Gus Mitchell and directed by Eloise Poulton, is a hypnotising and beautiful online show, that tries to articulate the colossal fight we need to engage in to save our planet and everything that lives on it. A one woman show, performer Katurah Morrish, switches between playing Rachel Carson and an objective narrator in today’s world who reveres Carson’s work. Physical theatre is blended with heart wrenching monologues, which create a truly original online show. Technical issues about failing connections seen in numerous online shows now as a wry nod to today’s environment, are utilised to illustrate the overwhelming difficulties of communicating the massive issues connected with climate change. As Morrish scribbles into a worn notebook wit...