Review of Market Boy by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton
|Featured: Boy (Tom Cocker), Trader (Greg Dallas) and Mum (Helen Gibb)|
|Tom Cocker as Boy|
His boss known as Trader is played with also a commanding and leering presence by Greg Dallas, all cocksure and certain to get the ladies into and promptly out of his stalls flash shoes for some activities in the back of his van. He is a typical larger than life trader, but one you can genuinely believe in, even if at times it gets a little like a swearing Only Fools And Horse situation.
|Tom Cocker as Boy and Greg Dallas as Trader and cast.|
Other standout performances in a universally brilliant cast are Alice McCracken as Boy's love interest, known simply as Girl. A captivating turn, full of high emotion and a genuinely classy performance delivering real tears in the sad final scenes, often beyond many professional performers. Will Adams is not only perfectly cast, but also really quite brilliant as the Meat Man, perhaps given three of the best received scenes on the night from the audience; with a simple stage re-entry to observe the treatment of his poultry; to a brilliant timed "Ah Bisto" moment; and finally perhaps one of the best moments in the play, the Churchillian speech, delivered impeccably.
|Centre: Steve While as Nut-Nut and cast.|
Stewart Magrath is an impossibly scary presence as The Toby, ruling the market with an iron fist and wielding his hammer with more than a hint of menace. His first appearance through the stalls and through our location of the front row, did really have its scary moments.
|Featured: Ben Webb as Snooks and Tom Cocker as Boy, with cast.|
Director Jesse Jones also added an impressive amount of flair to the piece, using every space in the Royal, from front of curtain, to boxes, to aisles and in one case a deafening loud haler speech from the circle. The curtain rising to a ensemble performance to the strains of Frankie's Relax set the tone for a brilliant evening of comedy, drama and music. There was a simple but very effective set design from Meryl Couper, along with some nice use of lighting from Jonathan Designer, particularly prevalent during that Thatcher scene already alluded to above.
So yes, the amateurs of the Actors Company have produced a professional production, more enjoyable than any I have seen this year. Not only the best amateur show I have seen, but one of the top shows I have seen ever, with that something else factor. Bringing through it's brilliantly written script, a perfectly pitched historic time and place and a cast and production team of skill and dedication above and beyond many professional shows, a piece of theatre that I truly never will forget and one I so wish I had seen a second time. Simply brilliant in every way.
Performance reviewed: Saturday 23rd July, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.
Market Boy by the Royal & Derngate Actors Company was performed between Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July, 2016
For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/
(Photos: Graeme Braidwood)
|Featured: Tom Cocker as Boy and Greg Dallas as Trader|
|Featured: Jo Watts as Spanish Girl|
|Greg Dallas as Trader and Tom Cocker as Boy|