Skip to main content

Beautiful Thing at the Arts Theatre, London

I felt the need to resurrect my blog after a couple of months of hibernation, and the perfect opportunity came following my viewing of an absolutely superb play on Saturday. As it happens I have spoilt the punchline of whether the show was any good already, but matters not, let me go back to the beginning.

I was due to be in London on Saturday so I rooted about looking for a play to see while there and it turned out I managed to find one featuring one of of my favourites, Suranne Jones. So I booked up, with genuinely no knowledge at all about what the play was about (I am want to do this whenever in the city).

Following buying the tickets, I did a little research into the play and discovered that this was originally a play, made into a film and now this a 20th anniversary version of the play. A play about the developing relationship of two young boys burgeoning love for each other. It is not a theme for a play that I would have specifically chosen to go and see, and perhaps many might think the same. All of them and myself could not be more wrong to prejudge. It was a sweet, witty, and thoroughly entertaining play.

Leading the cast as the mother of one of the boys, was Suranne Jones (lovely) as Sandra, and in a role, somewhat out of type for her, she mostly excelled, maybe with a suspicious hint of dodgy dialect, but that mattered not. Her role clearly had all the best comic lines, and with some gloriously fruity jokes. Suranne genuinely seemed to be having a ball in the role, and we all did watching. In the performance I saw, there was also a most wonderful corpsing moment for Suranne when there was an issue with a shut door, or lack of, let's say. A wonderful moment, that of course is "non-professional" for the snooty types no doubt, but part of the joys of a live performance.

As the two boys, Jake Davies and Danny-Boy Hatchard (the latter in his professional debut) both excelled in their comic and serious moments, Hatchard particular was perfectly able to get the real tears flowing when they were needed on a number of occasions.

Zaraah Abrahams and Oliver Farnworth both had less to do in their supporting roles, but by no means did either come up short. Abrahams was fun and frivolous in her role and got to do a couple of nice singing performances, while Farnworth got the obvious pleasure of having Suranne all over him, so I of course hated him. He had perhaps the most caricatured role as Tony, but he managed to make it gloriously his own.

The stage design I feel should have special mention as well. Incredibly simple, but because of this highly beneficial to the performances, allowing them to just get on with it. Pretty much just three doors and the bed, made a nice clean environment for the actors to do their stuff.

Final mention though of course to writer Jonathan Harvey for a surprising, witty script. Certainly a product of its time, anyone not around in the early nineties might find themselves wading through many of the period jokes, but I was there and I got pretty much everything and enjoyed every moment.

So, to sum up. A wonderful play, which I am very happy to have accidentally come across in pursuit of one of my favourites. Something I would highly recommend anyone should see, without prejudice. It is indeed a Beautiful Thing to behold.

Just go and see it, but be quick in London, or you shall have to chase it around the country.

http://www.beautthing.com/


21st April 2015 UPDATE: Beautiful Thing is now touring around the country until July 2015. See the above link for details.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Hansel & Gretel by Warts & All at Delapré Abbey, Northampton

For those unfamiliar with Kneehigh Theatre (from where this show originally comes), the best way of explaining them is that they do traditional things, differently. This performance by Warts and All Theatre of their adaptation of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel tells you much of what you need to know early on as a (human) rabbit is pinned down upon a table and skinned (half their costume removed). It is just one of an evening of wacky and quite brilliant moments as this production sours mostly for the sky of brilliance.

Handed to a cast of young performers, the result is often disturbingly professional. Sure it is still rough around the edges at times, but perhaps this helps the material. It doesn't actually matter if there is sparring from the cast with the audience, knowing looks and playfulness. It doesn't matter if one of the cast nearly knocks the cymbal of the musicians flying, perhaps it would have been even better if they had, this is anachic fun at its very b…

Review of Great Expectations by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Market Boy from The Actors Company last year was a remarkable show and is likely to stay with me for a long time, so following it with this year's production was always going to be a tough call and with their production of the epic Dickens classic Great Expectations, they at least didn't lack ambition.

I have to be honest, things for me didn't start well. The first few minutes of this adaptation by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod is a busy and convoluted sequence moving the opening part of the story in an unclear and often irritating way. For those present not aware of the original story, I wouldn't envy them trying to keep up with what is going on. However much of the trouble of this opening sequence is quickly corrected as scenes become more defined and controlled and the story is allowed to develop at a slower pace.

Perhaps also in the early part, it doesn't help either that the gender-swapped Magwitch played by Salli Bersham is a little too full on with the o…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…