Skip to main content

Review of September In The Rain by John Godber at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

It seems odd to describe a play that features long turds in drains and a seemingly constantly bickering couple beautiful, but for John Godber's September In The Rain it really feels appropriate. It is a wonderfully relaxing and at times extremely funny play (the turd moment a particular classic) telling the reminiscences of the elderly Liz and Jack's trips to Blackpool.

It also provided some emotional memories for myself as Blackpool was the place that I spent my very best family holidays in the eighties and early nineties. I have a truly fond feeling for the place despite now not having been there for over twenty years and I felt well the trials that Liz and Jack suffered from the occasional inclement weather of Blackpool. Oddly enough I remain sure now that the best weather I ever witnessed there was when we stayed right through Christmas one year. Blackpool in summer and early autumn simply cannot be trusted.

September In The Rain is produced by White Cobra Productions and this is my first encounter with them, although on this evidence I will try to make sure it is not my last. White Cobra is also very much the baby of our two stars of the piece Kate Billingham and Richard Jordan, having formed the company in 2012. As Liz and Jack (and occasionally a few other distinct characters) they are the perfect partnership. They are, put simply, perfection in their roles. Sparking off each other in glorious ways, creating what is a love and hate relationship and ever so believable they have spent decades together. Jack may well not want to hold Liz's hand, but we know they love each other really.

The direction from Lynne O'Sullivan is simple and clean allowing the characters to be the stars of the show. There is no need for anything more that the simple table and chairs or occasionally troublesome deckchair. The world is created through the tales told and the prompting from screen projection is rarely needed. Also simple but highly effective was the lighting and sound provided by Philip Welsh, Rod Arkle and Paul Fowler. I wonder if those tide sounds were genuine Blackpool ones? I think myself they were probably too calm to be from there.

This is a glorious and reet proper northern comedy performed by Billingham and Jordan with a loving and big beating heart and I absolutely loved and relieved every single moment of the tales they had to tell.


Performance reviewed: Thursday 1st October, 2015

September In The Rain continues at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton until Saturday 3rd October, 2015 before continuing its tour. For details visit: http://www.whitecobraproductions.co.uk/

For full details about the Playhouse Theatre visit their website at http://www.theplayhousetheatre.net/


Popular posts from this blog

Review of Aladdin by University Of Northampton BA Actors at Isham Dark (Avenue Campus), Northampton

Five years ago, I hadn't seen a panto since I was the proper kiddie age to appreciate them, and they hadn't been something missing in my life really. Even the first few I saw as a grown-up left me mostly cold, and teeth gritted at the whole experience. However, I have now seen rather a lot of them, supporting the many groups and collections of actors that I follow, and have started to acknowledge their importance in the theatre world for both actor and first theatre contact for many a person and more importantly, child. Last year, the University of Northampton BA Actors course also got in on the act, introducing Christmas shows to the mix, one of which was a pantomime, of variable quality, as the course itself got to grips with the situation.
This year, they return to take up the challenge once again, and clearly having learnt much from last year's first attempt, bring a much more solid and smoother show to the stage, with Suzan Holder's version of Aladin directed by …

Review of Peter Pan at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

I have been invariably impressed and depressed by the two offerings of Qdos pantomimes presented at Royal & Derngate that I have seen in the last three years, with them lurching dramatically from unnecessarily adult, to perfectly judged family entertainment. There is no question that Qdos though know how to do a panto, they always complete that mental checklist of things you seek from a panto trip. So, with an equal measuring of good and bad in the past, I went with trepidation, but hope, that this year was going to be the better side of success and failure.

Thankfully it was, Peter Pan is one of the more perfect heartwarming and thrilling pantos that you could want, perhaps the strongest because of just having a tremendously impressive story to work with. It's true that this is a little less traditional at times, we don't have for instance the typical Dame to deal with. However, with its grand baddie and comic moments, it still feels very panto at all times.

Heading the …

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…