Skip to main content

The Body Of An American at The Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

There was a moment for me right at the start of The Body Of An American that left me wondering if I had overstepped my intellect to come and see this play. After having traipsed through pretend snow and seated myself on my unreserved seat in what appeared to be an Underground tube tunnel (very well named). I was challenged to understand the opening, fast, frantic exchange of conversation between William Gaminara and Damien Molony.

Following an overwhelming collection of images on the screens at either end, the two performers set to one another in fast and frantic conversation, myself understanding a little of it, and concerned that I was being stoopid in not keeping up.

Thankfully quickly, either the play began to work for me, or more importantly maybe, my brain kicked into gear, because all of a sudden I was living the story.

The play is probably one of the most stripped back you could imagine. Two people, two chairs and two screens depicting photos and video, occasionally harrowing. However it all worked. Although the two actors were undoubtedly the stars of the show, those chairs offered quality support, depicting chairs (unsurprisingly), vehicles and a sledge, while being liberally thrown about the performing area. Also the use of light and sound was excellent coupled with that magical click of the fingers.

The story, based on true material and events was very cleverly constructed, challenging Gaminara and Molony to the extreme with multiple characters and accents. I truly never cease to be amazed by the memory of these performers, true stars, rather than those retake kings we hear about.

Weaving about, the play offers challenging thoughtful ideas of the viewer, culminating for me in the ultimate scene towards the end of the telephone call between Paul and the brother. A scene that must either bring a lump to the throat, or a tear to the eye. For my part, it was just me sweating and I shall stick to that story.

Summing up, a sharp, occasionally very witty play, that will make you think a damn sight more than the next episode of whichever soap you wish to name. You could do yourself a favour and go and see it, but be quick it departs on Saturday.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Worst Witch at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch first appeared in print in 1974, bringing its tale of an academy for witches to the first of a few generations. It was a long time before a certain boy wizard made his first appearance in a school of his own, and doesn't Emma Reeves, adaptor for the stage, know it. There are many a jibe at the HP universe in this stage version, that even I, someone who has never read or watched any of them (yes, really), could pick up.

Mildred Hubble arrives by mistake at the wrong university, a "normal" or "pleb" far removed from the rest of the students at Miss Cackle's Academy. Here she meets friends and enemies, and a certain evil twin bent on world domination.

Reeves' adaptation starts off slightly shakily as we are presented with what at first threatens to be a cheap rip-off of the mega stage hit The Play That Goes Wrong as we are introduced to the premise that this is a play put on by the students, complete with copycat stage ma…

Review of The Pillowman at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

The Pillowman sounds such a friendly title, and to be fair, his story is one of the lighter aspects of Martin McDonagh's script. It still involves dead children though, if you want to get a clear vision of how dark this play is.

Set in a police state of the future, Katurian (Toby Pugh) is taken in for the content of his often violent stories and a similarity to a spate of recent child killings. Here in detention cell 13, his police captors, Tupolski (Adrian Wyman) and Ariel (Steve While) play good cop, bad cop while holding over the threat of violence against Katurian's mentally disabled brother Michal (Patrick Morgan), being held in another cell.

The Pillowman is clearly a very warped story, with the blackest of black comedy, and often also very offensive with it's racial stereotyping and disability. In fact, it is no surprise that a couple left in the interval, as I would happily admit that this play is far from everyone. I like a good black comedy though, and lifting an …

Review of Broadway Lights And West End Nights at Northampton College

I have followed the acting course at the University of Northampton for the last five years now, but this Saturday I experienced the Level 3 Musical Theatre group at Northampton College for the first time, as they presented a performance by their first and second-year students. The evidence from this first encounter suggests that there is some very good talent on its way through this course.

The evening presented a nicely varied selection of performances from six shows, Avenue Q, Rent, The Lion King, Cats, Mary Poppins and Sweet Charity, both providing some lovely singing routines and a few of pure dance, allowing the students to show many of their, very obvious, skills.

From the collection of 21 routines presented, there were a few standout moments, the best of which for myself was Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer performed by Tom Kalek and Lily Cushway. This was a routine of such polish that I would happily have watched on any stage, never mind a student performance. Kaley and Cushway…