Skip to main content

Review of Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire's Celebrate Northampton at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

You would probably be hard pushed to find a show of such contrasting quality on the Derngate stage than Celebrate Northampton. There was much brilliance at times, but also some, saying in my kindest way possible, less good. However it was totally unimportant about the quality on such a night, because it just did not matter. Celebrate Northampton was just a joyful couple of hours or so of ordinary people being 100% braver than I would be and seizing that chance to perform on the Derngate stage.

The show was broken into two separate parts with the pre-interval a dance orientated one and after the interval a full choir. The show was introduced by VIN Chief Executive Jane Carr, hosted by John Fisher and the choir directed by the seemingly omnipresent Gareth Fuller.

I rather unexpectedly enjoyed the first half of the show the most, despite the fact that I was looking forward to the choir part having experienced and enjoyed a few in recent months. Maybe its that the dance part offered a constantly changing spectrum with Indian dance, Sikh drumming and the revelation of belly dancing from the Haraam Arab/Egyptian Dance Troupe. My favourites of the half though were the stunning performances by Starlight Stage School and Ashby's School Of Dance. They were simply stunning and their routines were themselves a constantly evolving beast, with quick music changes and styles of dance. They were the pick of the night for me.

The choir while spectacular was oddly an anticlimax. Don't get me wrong I loved it (although I have to say that there were sound issues for me, I think the volume on the speakers was just too loud), and they performed an impressive variety of songs with the last two Heal The World and Rather Be my favourites. It was just a little less impressive than I had hoped.

So a mixed bag of quality, but an absolute delight of an evening simply because these people were having fun and we couldn't help but have fun with them. I left with a happy grin upon the face and that can never be a bad thing.

*

As a side note to my review, there was something even more prominent than usual last night with the audience. With these public performance shows the bulk of the audience is made up of friends and family of performers and it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that sadly these are not the best kind of theatre goers. I always expect a certain amount of fluid movement in these shows now with people coming and going. However from my slightly lofty position last night in a circle box, I saw an even more ugly occurrence from a few people. First of all putting in context, there was a lot of filming going on last night on mobiles (I believe that this was accepted for this show). However what I noticed last night were people filming single parts which were obviously their family/friends, which was fine. What wasn't fine for me, was that some of these got up and left after they had filmed their pieces. While I know nothing can be done about this, it smacks of a horrifying disrespect for the other performers and comes as a huge disappointment to me. There you go, axe grinded.

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Worst Witch at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch first appeared in print in 1974, bringing its tale of an academy for witches to the first of a few generations. It was a long time before a certain boy wizard made his first appearance in a school of his own, and doesn't Emma Reeves, adaptor for the stage, know it. There are many a jibe at the HP universe in this stage version, that even I, someone who has never read or watched any of them (yes, really), could pick up.

Mildred Hubble arrives by mistake at the wrong university, a "normal" or "pleb" far removed from the rest of the students at Miss Cackle's Academy. Here she meets friends and enemies, and a certain evil twin bent on world domination.

Reeves' adaptation starts off slightly shakily as we are presented with what at first threatens to be a cheap rip-off of the mega stage hit The Play That Goes Wrong as we are introduced to the premise that this is a play put on by the students, complete with copycat stage ma…

Review of The Pillowman at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

The Pillowman sounds such a friendly title, and to be fair, his story is one of the lighter aspects of Martin McDonagh's script. It still involves dead children though, if you want to get a clear vision of how dark this play is.

Set in a police state of the future, Katurian (Toby Pugh) is taken in for the content of his often violent stories and a similarity to a spate of recent child killings. Here in detention cell 13, his police captors, Tupolski (Adrian Wyman) and Ariel (Steve While) play good cop, bad cop while holding over the threat of violence against Katurian's mentally disabled brother Michal (Patrick Morgan), being held in another cell.

The Pillowman is clearly a very warped story, with the blackest of black comedy, and often also very offensive with it's racial stereotyping and disability. In fact, it is no surprise that a couple left in the interval, as I would happily admit that this play is far from everyone. I like a good black comedy though, and lifting an …

Review of Broadway Lights And West End Nights at Northampton College

I have followed the acting course at the University of Northampton for the last five years now, but this Saturday I experienced the Level 3 Musical Theatre group at Northampton College for the first time, as they presented a performance by their first and second-year students. The evidence from this first encounter suggests that there is some very good talent on its way through this course.

The evening presented a nicely varied selection of performances from six shows, Avenue Q, Rent, The Lion King, Cats, Mary Poppins and Sweet Charity, both providing some lovely singing routines and a few of pure dance, allowing the students to show many of their, very obvious, skills.

From the collection of 21 routines presented, there were a few standout moments, the best of which for myself was Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer performed by Tom Kalek and Lily Cushway. This was a routine of such polish that I would happily have watched on any stage, never mind a student performance. Kaley and Cushway…