Skip to main content

Review of the University Of Northampton BA (Hons) Acting Graduate Showcase 2016 at Tristan Bates Theatre, London

For the second year running, I was honoured to be invited to the Graduate Showcase in the heart of London, at which this years BA Actors made their final appearance together. These were the third group that I have been able to follow to the end, and the group I had spent the longest following, so it was emosh for all of us.

Our venue this year was the Tristan Bates Theatre within The Actors Centre at Covent Garden. I have to admit that personally I wasn't particularly struck on the venue, the studio space was a little dingy and a tad strong on the echo. However venue is second, the talent at it was key, and like previous years this group have been of a tremendous standard.

This year the format of the showcase, under director Simon Cole, had been tweaked a little and the snippets of the actors Flash pieces had been dispensed with in favour of longer pieces from seventeen plays. This year I had actually seen two of the plays featured; Citizenship this year at Connections, and Rainbow Kiss, more interestingly for me (and certainly no one else) the first play I ever saw performed in London, at the Royal Court in 2006.

All of the selections were cleverly picked in their own right, as once again were the pairings. Many that you might not pick yourself, but under wise decisions, tremendously successful. It was once again a frenetic seventy to eighty minute show, full of humour and high drama and performed with relish from the group for that final time in front of an impressively large audience compared to the year before (no Christopher Biggins though)

I am not going into more detail over performances this time, as I have said my opinions over the last two years of this group and no one during this production let the side down. Therefore in order of appearance, my thanks and best wishes for the future got to: Tom Stone, Benjamin Williams, Aoife Smyth, Elizabeth Adejimi, Elliot Holden, Patrick Morgan, Grace Aitken, Annalise Taylor, Penelope May, Stuart Warren, Kathryn McKerrow, Neizan Fernandez Birchwood, Amber Mae, Jake Rivers, Madeleine Hagerty, Danni-Louise Ryan, Cynthia Lebbos, Connor McAvoy, Cîara Goldsberry, Suzannah Cassels, Sharni Tapako-Brown, Jaryd Headley, Daniel Hadjivarnava, Jared Gregory, Kieran Hansell, Sophie Guiver, Rory Sayers, Rhiana Young, Ellen Shersby-Wignall. Stephanie Waugh, Daniel Gray, Vandreas Marc, Lucy Kitson, Sophie-Rose Darby, Charlie Clee, Jack Newhouse. Also those not performing on the day Caroline Avis, Megan Burda, Yolanda Lake, Amy Weaver, Matilda Hunt and George Marlow.

A final thanks to everyone behind the scenes that has helped run the course, teach these stars and make the two years so enjoyable. I hope in the future to see as many of these perform once again and follow their futures with interest. I have said it before, however once again I say to you all, go forward and do what you want to do and continue to be the special that you already are.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Great Expectations by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Market Boy from The Actors Company last year was a remarkable show and is likely to stay with me for a long time, so following it with this year's production was always going to be a tough call and with their production of the epic Dickens classic Great Expectations, they at least didn't lack ambition.

I have to be honest, things for me didn't start well. The first few minutes of this adaptation by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod is a busy and convoluted sequence moving the opening part of the story in an unclear and often irritating way. For those present not aware of the original story, I wouldn't envy them trying to keep up with what is going on. However much of the trouble of this opening sequence is quickly corrected as scenes become more defined and controlled and the story is allowed to develop at a slower pace.

Perhaps also in the early part, it doesn't help either that the gender-swapped Magwitch played by Salli Bersham is a little too full on with the o…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…

Review of Hansel & Gretel by Warts & All at Delapré Abbey, Northampton

For those unfamiliar with Kneehigh Theatre (from where this show originally comes), the best way of explaining them is that they do traditional things, differently. This performance by Warts and All Theatre of their adaptation of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel tells you much of what you need to know early on as a (human) rabbit is pinned down upon a table and skinned (half their costume removed). It is just one of an evening of wacky and quite brilliant moments as this production sours mostly for the sky of brilliance.

Handed to a cast of young performers, the result is often disturbingly professional. Sure it is still rough around the edges at times, but perhaps this helps the material. It doesn't actually matter if there is sparring from the cast with the audience, knowing looks and playfulness. It doesn't matter if one of the cast nearly knocks the cymbal of the musicians flying, perhaps it would have been even better if they had, this is anachic fun at its very b…