Skip to main content

Review of Into The Breach by Mark Carey at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

Long term readers of this blog (I pity you) will be aware that myself and William Shakespeare are not friends, so the opportunity to go to see a play subtitled "One Man's Battle With Shakespeare" seemed very apt. This coupled with the shear horror of an opening in the form of a panto (another pet hate), could have left me fleeing for the doors of the Looking Glass Theatre.

However if I had, I would have deprived myself of seeing a quite brilliant one-man show from Mark Carey. So as I pretended to look like I was enjoying singing that "wishy washy" some such with words written upon some cardboard cutout bloomers, I gritted my teeth and got through it. Amateur dramatic director Simon Trottley Barnes did not however wish to see our lead George Crocker's Widow Twankey thankfully and we were soon away from such shenanigans and onto Shakespeare (whoopee do).

Into The Breach features five main characters (although there are seventeen in total), residents of a sleepy village in Devon. Set in 1943, all the characters are linked by their love and membership of the Lowford Drama club. The cast are all played with superb style by the one man performance machine known as Mark Carey, who has written the piece as well. When we see the drunken, forgetful Major we are really seeing Carey create a vivid character before us. When we see Ticker, we see all teeth and wait with baited breath for him to say "hello" once again. We see constantly throughout the show, fully rounded and full of character people. Carey totally embodies every part.

The story itself has very many layers as well, although it generally revolves around the club plan to put on a performance of "Henry Five". We also have an underlying romance tale and also most powerfully at the start of the second act a vivid flashback to the Great War. In under two hours you genuinely learn to love these oddball characters, all played by the same man, with just a hat, a whisky bottle or a pair of glasses the only visible physical difference.

This is a truly wonderful piece of one-man theatre, performed with real skill and love for the material of the Bard himself and even to an unbeliever of "Billy Shakespeare" like myself, a show to highly recommend you seek out. A quite brilliant and constant delight.


Performance reviewed: Saturday 21st, 2015 at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton.

Into The Breach was performed by Mark Carey at the Looking Glass Theatre.

Details of Into The Breach can be found at http://intothebreach.info/

Looking Glass Theatre also has a website at http://www.lookingglasstheatre.co.uk/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Madame Bovary by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Rosanna Lowe's version of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary was originally commissioned by Simon Godwin for the Northampton Royal Theatre, so it perhaps seems apt, that it returns to a stage of the same town, in this new wacky interpretation from Masque Theatre.

Masque's publicity for the show, describes it as a "madcap tragedy", and for those more familiar with Flaubert's novel you shall perhaps be a little surprised by the anarchic version created here. This is tragedy played for full-on slapstick effect, and while at times it might seem overwhelming in its intensity, the ride we are taken on is a delight.

Directed by Tamsyn Payne and Alex Rex and a team of talented creatives, Madame Bovary's props and design are every bit as important as the talented cast wielding them. For an amateur production, the attention to detail is nothing short of staggering. Gloriously created books filled with delights, puppet dogs and children, mini nuns, and little baskets…

Review of Hamlet by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I am personally all about making Shakespeare accessible, I take the Emma Rice line, that many were not keen on, that after a few hundred years, it's perhaps worthy of mixing it up a bit to make it more meaningful to a modern audience. I have a feeling the man himself would have no qualms about seeing his classic Hamlet transposed into a garish multi-coloured world, set in a much more hip place.
The Denmark that we see here and that is still referenced, is now very much an African country, and not just because of the heavy black actor casting, this is all about a style and a carnival feeling to many of the scenes. Music is provided by tribal-like drums, and characters stalk the scenes carrying handguns and rifles, bringing a modern feeling to the conflict as well. This is certainly not the "rotten state of Denmark" that most Shakespeare aficionados are familiar with.
Characters are changed drastically as we have more cocksure, swaggering, modern feeling to the individual…

Review of The Rover at the Holy Sepulchre, Northampton

I have seen very little restoration comedy, and with Playhouse Creatures early this year, very much Restoration period, Masque Theatre has provided much of it this year, with this edition of Aphra Behn's 1677 play The Rover or The Banish'd Cavaliers. Behn was quite a landmark writer, recognised as one of the first women to make a living from writing (and has an extraordinary real-life worth researching). Perhaps having watched The Rover now, you can see why her work might well have been accepted back then. It is suitably bawdy, really extremely rude at times in places, definitely farcical (with disguise situations aplenty that wouldn't fool a blind man with a blindfold on) and perhaps most importantly, makes the woman much of the time the victims in the frequent sexual exploits. It clearly wasn't being anything that a man of the time wouldn't write, and probably means it lay a suitable path for success for Behn as a result.

The Rover itself is tremendous fun, ploug…