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 Bugsy Malone (Clyde Company) at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Last night I was back at Royal & Derngate to see the Youth Theatre/Young Company production of Bugsy Malone, this time seeing the almost completely different cast of Clyde Company. This second evening of the show had the fortune of running much smoother, with less of the technical issues that had beset the previous evening and restricted the success of some of the scenes.

It was most apparent in the Fat Sam's Grand Slam scene, which became a greater hive of activity, with a full dance routine taking place, which unfortunately hadn't happened the previous night. Leading this scene was a full-on performance from Morgan Charles as Tullulah, exhibiting the vocal talent, and most especially the dance skills she had shown in last years Fame.

In the lead for this second company, and taking a much different approach to the role, was Nathan Stroud. Here we had a more mature Bugsy, not just in age, but in personality. The slightly more serious style worked excellently alongside a st…

Review of Planet Circus OMG! 2016 at Billing Aquadrome, Northampton

An unexpected call from a friend who had received a free ticket, à la Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket, to go and see a circus for free, left me sitting in a circus tent a few hours later for the first time in about thirty years.


It was a wise, albeit on occasion, scary decision. I have to confess that when seeing shows like this, where there is an element of danger involved I do tend to squirm into the chair I sit. This happened mostly during the opening act of the second half of the show, the suitably titled Wheel Of Death. I rolled into an uncomfortable ball, while the five or six year old behind me gleefully shouted that "they are going to die!".


This was a scary welcome to the second act, after the first much more relaxing first half. It works excellently and is credit to producer and director Mark Whitney that the show is perfectly balanced, with the bulk of traditional circus arts in the first half, while the more spectacular and often more modern feeling ones are in …

Review of The Crucible at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

A few weeks ago I headed down to London to see this years graduating University of Northampton BA Actors perform Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible, and while it was generally spotlessly performed, as expected, the staging of it was tremendously dull, offering little stimulation beyond just the words being said. It made a classic, quite dull as a result. There was no such issue with The Actors Company production, staged in the atmospheric Underground space, and directed with such style and flair by Fay Lomas, to make Miller's play unrecognisable from that London version.

Based around the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, Reverend Parris (a tough uncompromising performance from Steve While) comes across a group of girls dancing in the forest. When one of the girls, Betty (Laura Green), falls into a coma, events spiral out of control for many of the residents of the town, as accusations fly. Soon, Judge Danforth (Sue Whyte) is on the scene, and the lives of the residents a…