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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/

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