Skip to main content

Review of Flash Festival: Blockhead Theatre Company - The Secrets Of Man at the Looking Glass Theatre

Blockhead's production easily became the most talked about following my viewing of it. Mostly it has to be said not for a good reason. It is also the first Flash I am reviewing after first reading Mr Mudbeast's take on it (here).

Four blokes in a room together is probably a dangerous thing and for the best part The Secrets Of Man showcased the danger with a slightly broken show which concentrated mostly on puerile humour and little (no) light and shade. Discussions after highlighted the lack of emotional impact in any scenes which would have taken us away from the mens clowning antics of the show. Having said all this it went down like a bomb with the massed ranks of the student audience. Although I suspect that that is not the target audience of a dissertation, but I am no tutor. I am merely a keen theatre goer.

Having been critical so far, I must say that there were many parts I enjoyed. The birth scene was excellently done (although I suspect difficult for many not in the front row to see the full impact), and yes the revolving broken door antics was fun. Even Joshua Thomas' elderly gent walk on was entertaining, the first, second, maybe third time. After that it really was an obvious time filler.

At the end of the day you get out what you put in to something. Blockhead despite being four members have no Twitter feed, no Facebook group, no website and there was no programme. Although this of course can have no bearing on the production, it can hint that there might also not have been the care taken on that as well.

With the slapstick nature of the show, it was difficult at times to work out whether tech issues were planned or not and although the set was nice to begin with, it frequently became a mess and shear luck that the item they were needing was actually where it was meant to be.

As Mr Mudbeast said in his review, the cast are indeed better than this and I am certain that they all will have excellent days ahead of them, this sadly was not one of them.



The Flash Festival 2015 runs between 18th-23rd May, 2015 at four venues across the town. Details can be found at http://ftfevents.wix.com/flashtheatre2015, while tickets can be booked via the Royal & Derngate. Details at: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Other/FlashFestival15

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 Sister Act by the Northampton Musical Theatre Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

South Pacific at Royal & Derngate last year set a remarkable benchmark for an "amateur" production, with a large talented cast, superb vocals, sets and a polish up there with a professional production. Sister Act, this years production from the Northampton Musical Theatre Company was more of the same, but perhaps taken up a notch or two. Sister Act is a musical based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy and was first performed in 2009. Written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, it is a likable and fun musical which genuinely came as a surprise to me. The opening scene at Curtis's Bar and Nightclub is to be honest not the best though and genuinely didn't fill me with much hope. It feels as if it gives nothing to the cast, although it creates the premise of the story coupled with the incident outside the bar. Likewise, I didn't take much to the Police Station scene either, so it didn't bode well. When we reach the Queen Of Angels Cathedral though, this show

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