Skip to main content

Review of Dying For It performed by University Of Northampton BA Actors at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

A man in twenties Russia wants to kill himself. Let's all laugh hysterically, it seems right? Well it does during Moira Buffini adaption of Nikolai Erdman's satirical black comedy, The Suicide. Our protagonist Semyon Semyonovich (a masterful performance by Matt Larsson) has a double barrelled sausage and wants to have an end to it all. Indeed why wouldn't he want to end it? His failure at playing the Tuba because he doesn't have a piano, his most hideous (but, oh so funny) mother-in-law Serafima (a comic mastery performance from Sophie Poyntz Lloyd) always there giving him aggro. Then his wife Masha (a gentle, and very lovely performance from Sarah Kirk) leaves him. He really might as well top himself. If only there was a cause he could die for.

Step forward neighbour Alexander (an effortless performance by Dale Endacott) and his (for a price) revolving door of potential causes for Semyon to die for. So we have through the doors in order Aristarkh (John Shelley providing much of his dazzling performance as Richard III again), Kleopatra (a fruity performance from Nikki Murray) and finally Victoria (elegant and stylishly played by Riley Stephen). They all indeed have a cause so strong that it is worth "dying for it".

Into the mix we have the confident and strutting business woman Margarita, present to "console" Alexander over his recent loss. Playing her is Jenny Styles, who of this current crop of students I have seen the most via the other uni shows, through to Killed and more recent telling the vivid tale of The Little Prince at the Open Mic Night. Jenny has never been less than impressive and in this her performance is every bit as great as the woman who will get her man, indeed more than one. Pacing around in killer heels, she is simply wonderful. Also simply wonderful is Joseph Clift as peoples champion Yegor. Present mostly for his comedy value, he also has that powerful edge, and whenever his brief passing through visits occur, "This is a communal stairway!" he is where the audience eyes I think lay. Last but not least, direct from the motherland of Russia, we have, erm, Scottish preacher Yelpidi played mostly for constant comedy effect by Ryan Manning.

The cast of ten are all incredible and are joined briefly by violin playing refugee from The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, Abigail Benson-Ross. Together with director Cressida Brown, they have created what is a gloriously funny production with first class performances and a powerfully sad end. The perfect finale for me of this weekends three University Of Northampton productions. Roll on the Flash Festival 2015.


Performance reviewed: Saturday 14th March, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

Dying For It was one of three show being performed at the Royal by the University Of Northampton BA (Hons) Actors. Details of each are below.
Dying For It: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/DyingForIt/?view=Standard
A Clockwork Orange: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/AClockworkOrange/?view=Standard
The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/LastDaysOfJudas/?view=Standard

Details of Royal & Derngate can be found by visiting their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

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)

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 Theft at the Castle Theatre Studio, Wellingborough

The comedy-thriller Theft by Eric Chappell tells the story of an anniversary celebrating couple returning to the devastation of their home being ransacked in a burglary. However, this ransacking pales in comparison to the ransacking of their lives that then occurs as home truths are revealed. Anyone old enough to remember the works of Theft writer Chappell ( Rising Damp and Only When I Laugh ), could be forgiven for thinking that this 1996 play might feel a little dated for a 2021 audience. However, bar a few references much of their time now (the weaker sex and female priests for instance), Theft still feels comfortable in the 2021 world, where many of us just want both a good evening of theatre and a good bit of fun. With Theft from the highly regarded Wellingborough Technical Players, they get just that. The action starts as we find the man of the house John Miles played by Graham Breeze returning, very angry, to his home. He is a rightfully boisterous character, channelling all th