Skip to main content

Review of Flash Festival: Stand Out Theatre - The Presenter at the Looking Glass Theatre

Ryan Manning's solo performance Flash innocently titled The Presenter is no light hearted show featuring a Titchmarsh/Schofield-esque host and any granny unexpectedly turning up would soon be spitting her false teeth out as the play turns the air bluer than her hair.

What it is however is a dazzlingly believable play about one man, Kieran, and his battle with an insane alter ego, Aaron. This whole performance was made the more amazing and encompassing by the fact that it is presented in the area off the main room at the Looking Glass. A single row of chairs around the four sides makes it a totally intimate experience where every member of the audience is in that single shattered room strewn with clothes, drink bottles and when we take our seats the whacked out body of The Presenter.

We are slowly and completely brought into this world through the strains of the complete version of Marilyn Manson's Tainted Love. Its a bold move to play the entire tune with nothing happening, and indeed a period after, however it works as is drifts us into this broken realm. The eventual shattered movement of Manning is therefore all the more effective.

We start with the good part of Kieran and his discovery of his alter egos latest and probably most devastating night of activity. Conversations between the two are relayed by a recording device, where messages are left for one another to hear depending on who is the active brain. This apparently simple idea of tech is one of the most effective seen this week so far and is used superbly. Especially later in the piece where we have character switches and the conversation being recorded becomes the conversation being heard. These switches are also cleverly produced with use of the flickering lights. There is indeed some clever and well prepared tech in this play, the best of the solos so far.

Ryan also embodies the two characters superbly, with the desperate and finally destroyed Kieran far apart from the truly horrifying Aaron. The latter feels dangerous even to the audience with his stalking around the room, his spitting out of the "alcohol", just his whole demeanour is frightening to be in the presence of.

It is indeed a chilling little piece of theatre, wonderfully and believably performed by Ryan and ends as only this play could in total destruction. Chilling stuff indeed.

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Railway Children at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

This touring production of the very classic E. Nesbit tale The Railway Children adapted by Dave Simpson and directed by Paul Jepson delivers perhaps everything that someone familiar with the original tale would desire.

Yes, in this modern age we are treated to the more flashy projection images which while a little unexciting at times (and occasionally diluted in clarity by the other stage lights) provide a pleasing background nonetheless.

This production of The Railway Children though is still very much of its time, nothing exciting really happens, other than some petticots being removed infront of a train, that we of course know is going to stop, even if we don't know the story. It's all very safe, and perhaps that is why it appears the modern audience has less interest in it judging by the shockingly small audience on opening night.

However, those not there are missing out on just a really lovely piece of gentle theatre, that while not without its faults, holds the interest…

Review of Rules For Living at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It is possibly a rule in life for a few in the audience for the opening night of Sam Holcroft's domestic comedy Rules For Living not to mention Christmas until December. Therefore anyone of such a persuasion might have been a little perturbed to be presented on the 13th September with, an undeniably brilliantly dressed, homely Christmas scene.

Opening up in glorious dollhouse style and on a gorgeous little hinge, this little home of living room and kitchen sets the scene for a typical family Christmas. Mother Edith (Jane Booker) welcomes her sons, Matthew (Jolyon Coy) and Adam (Ed Hughes) and their respective partners, Carrie (Carlyss Peer) and Nicole (Laura Rogers) And with a final dramatic arrival of father Francis (Paul Shelley), the scene is very much set for comic antics of the highest calibre.

The first thing you get from Rules For Living in the first few minutes is the arrival of one of the most brilliant, yet simple concepts I have seen for a while in the play. These are …

Review of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There have been a couple of television versions of the Mapp & Lucia novels by E. F. Benson over the years and irrespective of which generation version you might have seen, the roles of Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas were filled with some heavyweight performers. So taking on these roles could, in theory, be a challenge too much to live up to. However, that would be if the characters themselves were less the sum of the performer. These are great characters on paper as well as on stage and therefore Gena McCrystal (Miss Mapp) and Juliet O'Connor (Lucia) make them very much their own in the stage adaption by John Van Druten.

Lucia has arrived and breezed both into the town of Tilling and the musical chair roundabout of house rental that is want to occur here. Her rented property is Miss Mapp's and for some reason, Mapp fails to follow the routine of keeping away, constantly "popping in", so the battle lines are drawn.
Make Way for Lucia is the typical battle of supremacy i…