Skip to main content

Review of Kissing Sid James at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Kissing Sid James by Robert Farquhar is an odd little play. Essentially consisting of a dirty weekend, it is also a greatly sad play, laying many emotions bare. No happy endings and an underlying grimness. It also blows rather hot and cold in the script sense. There are scenes that are tremendously funny, like those in the bedroom in the first half. The "sex" scene in particular gives plenty of moments of hilarity, especially when Eddie (Mark Farey) just won't keep quiet, as his companion Crystal (Juliet O'Connor) desires. Eddie indeed just can't keep his Nobby Stiles in, it would seem.

However for all the good scenes and witty lines in the play, there is also a huge amount of pondering. The second half is particularly at fault. When Crystal threatens to leave, it seems an age before she makes the decision. Also as this is just a two-hander, we have some really odd scenes of the characters talking to someone off stage. They just seem strange, and the only ones that work for me are the conversations with the room service as they actually have some purpose.

However for all its faults, it is made an entertaining piece by the two performers. Both Juliet O'Conner and Mark Farey are excellent as the loving, hating, sparing pair. They literally put all their effort into the occasionally meandering script and put simply make the whole play watchable. The only fault I would lie at the production is the over work on the set. There is far too many laborious alterations to the set between scenes, which just breaks the flow of the piece. It is impressive how much effort has gone into the set changes, but in this case I think less would have certainly been more.

So, a slightly clunky script, which is made watchable by two superb performances. It comes recommended simply because of them and not the material. However remember to take your inflatable dinghy, you just never know.

«««


Performance reviewed: Tuesday 17th January, 2015

Kissing Sid James continues at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton until Saturday 21st March, 2015. For full details visit their website at http://www.theplayhousetheatre.net/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Blue/Orange at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The challenging and socially relevant Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall was published in 2000 and back then, this caustic exploration of mental health, and more specifically black mental health issues, was a tremendously relevant play. When it debuted on stage in London, the cast of just three was played by Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director James Dacre doesn't have those names to play with so much in his cast, however here, he has worked with the writer himself to rework the play for a more modern audience. Does it still shock, and is the relevance still there today? Sadly, perhaps, the answer is yes, as doctors Bruce Flaherty and Robert Smith come to verbal blows over the health of patient Christopher, at times, you feel 21 years shed little light on how mental health is approached. Many references in the script, still sit unquestionably in the year 2000, however, with this reworking, one thing has changed dramatically. In the original version of the play, the two

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year. Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device. Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston)