Skip to main content

National Theatre Connections - The Wardrobe and Heritage at Royal & Derngate (Royal and Underground)

The National Theatre of ten new plays for young people reached Northampton this week on its countrywide tour, and I was able on the first day to see two of them. Good fun they were too.

The first, The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft was probably a cleverer idea on paper than the success on stage. The idea was that it told the tale of various interludes through time of the very same wardrobe and was made up of small parts, some of which worked more successfully than others. It was perhaps actually on the part of the performers than some parts felt more alive. Particularly the boys convent section which was superbly played by the group, as well as an earlier part where a young Alan Carr literally stole the show with his upper class performance.

Another thing that jarred a little was the actual staging and use of the wardrobe. It was bizarrely big at times and seemed in one section to have another exit. Fair enough for freedom of the play, but if you are really going to restrict your play idea to a wardrobe, you really need to work with the confines of it for the audience to accept it. A pleasant enough play though with a great idea, but did not really fulfil its promise.

Heritage, written by Dafydd James and performed by Stopsley High School however was a completely different story. Dark, funny and sometimes gloriously rude, this was a wonderful little play. A group of young people have been gathered together to perform a village anthem, but as the play develops, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.

For the most part this feels like a modern day Lord Of The Flies, with a band of youngsters together, but not really getting on with one another and exchanging insults, potential romance and some really very funny conversations. The young performers were also excellent, with some huge potential in the future I should imagine if they stick with it.

This really is a very dark comedy and it is actually made I think much more powerful by the fact that the performers are so young. A real gem!

Popular posts from this blog

Review of DNA by University of Northampton BA Actors at Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate, London

The final year performances of BA Actors this year upped sticks and headed away from their Northampton Royal territory and gathered to show their skills in London.

The first of the three shows being performed was Dennis Kelly's DNA, a play which I saw performed on the Royal stage itself four years ago. I enjoyed it for its dark mysterious nature and was looking forward to seeing a different interpretation of the show. It tells the tale of a group of youngsters who do something really bad, and proceed to attempt to cover it up, resulting in the real bad, well, getting more bad. It's dark yes, but also, very funny at times.

It opens with a looming movement piece of theatre, which I always love and this was no different for me, brooding and sinister. It's quite a long opening, which perhaps, in the end, becomes too long, but it's a fabulous piece of theatre for me. It set's the scene very well for Kelly's dark piece to unfold and in the hands of these, about to gr…

Flash Festival 2018: Persecuted by United-Force Theatre Company at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

It's perhaps a shame that the major talking point after United-Force Theatre Company's production of Persecuted is its final scene, and more so over the sheer realism of it, rather than anything directly related to the acting and writing of it. The shame is that it overshadows what is quite a brilliant piece of theatre in its own right, well constructed and superbly acted by the trio in the group, Alexander Forrester-Coles, Chris Tyler and Radostin Radev.

The date is 11th May 2005 and the Iraq War is no longer having the initial success that it had after destroying Sadam Hussain's regime. In a camp in Basra, Mohammed bin Osama bin Laden (Radostin Radev) is captured and under interrogation by commander James Farrell (Alexander Forrester-Coles), the good cop of the story, and Dan (Chris Tyler),  a Lieutenant, very much of the bad cop variety.

It's an ugly, but also a very vivid tale, claustrophobic and always intimidating. When the actors are not churning through the int…

Flash Festival 2018: Drained by Open Eye Theatre at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

Back in 2015 when I was attending my second year at the Flash Festival, I had the pleasure of seeing a show called I Forget What I’ve Forgotten, a solo show performed by the superb Catherine Garlick, it was very much based on personal experiences, and it was one of very few Flash shows that I have made time to see a second time. That second time, it became the only Flash that I stood at the end of (to date), and it was the first that emotionally hit me hard.

While I didn't stand at the end of Open Eye Theatre's Drained (I was incredibly close), it left me a spent force of emotion. My fellow blogger and companion of the week The Real Chrisparkle, witnessed my tears, and I was actually perhaps as emotional as I have ever been at the end of any theatre show.

Drained was a slow burner of emotion, which I guess just gently took hold like no other before. Our three characters, Laura (Bryony Ditchburn) and her two brothers, Will (Robert Charles) and Jamie (Jake Wyatt) gather at the wa…