Skip to main content

Review of Not Now Darling by Moulton Players at Moulton Theatre, Northampton

It is safe to say that the performance of Not Now Darling by Moulton Players didn't go quite as smoothly as we or no doubt they hoped, however despite everything, it still resulted in a highly entertaining evening.

Released in 1967, Not Now Darling is a full out farce from Ray Cooney and John Chapman and does everything expected of it. Bawdy, sexist and more than a little chaotic, it really is an impressively funny play, albeit a rather silly premise. However that is farce for you.

For the best part this production currently on at Moulton Theatre delivers the goods. However for a farce to gel perfectly it has to be delivered with style and a tremendous pace, and unfortunately for this third night performance, a large number of prompts were required. This unfortunately distilled it a little, losing a few of those perfectly timed jokes into the bargain. Having said this, the mishaps offered moments of brilliance of their own, Ken Francis as Arnold Crouch successfully spun a prompt into a reminder from his secretary, much to the amusement of cast and audience. As was a late telephone ring smoothly handled by Robert Valentine as Harry McMichael. It is hard to tell where the blame lies, however because there was no single offender on the lines, my belief is perhaps it being a little unrehearsed. There certainly seemed to be a few places where scenes were stumbling quite a lot, even those without prompts.

Having said all this negative comment, it was as I said entertaining. There was some great characterisation going on. Particularly from the leads Ken Francis and Lee Winston (Gilbert Bodley). Winston confident as the womanising character and Francis as the put upon partner, they made a great double act and often saved many of the scenes from total collapse. Sure we want a bit of free flowing madness in a farce, but at times, this was pushing it a tad. Also without question having great fun as Janie McMichael was Ellen Hobday, all fur coat and, well this is a farce, you get the picture. One other from the cast for special mention, is Jill White's bombastic Mrs Frencham, often portraying the bold as brass character that at times, you wished some of the other performers would create.

So yes, this was the least smooth amateur show I have seen, but if this is the worst, it perhaps doesn't matter. I and the audience had a great time with this entertaining production which did include some nice performances. However simply put, this could have been quite a lot better and if it had, it would have been a heck of a brilliant show as the foundations that were on display promised much. Fun and disappointing in equal measure.

Performance reviewed: Wednesday 12th October, 2016 at Moulton Theatre, Northampton

Not Now Darling runs at Moulton Theatre, Northampton until Saturday 15th October, 2016.

For full details of the Moulton Theatre visit their website at http://moultontheatre.com/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Blue/Orange at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The challenging and socially relevant Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall was published in 2000 and back then, this caustic exploration of mental health, and more specifically black mental health issues, was a tremendously relevant play. When it debuted on stage in London, the cast of just three was played by Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director James Dacre doesn't have those names to play with so much in his cast, however here, he has worked with the writer himself to rework the play for a more modern audience. Does it still shock, and is the relevance still there today? Sadly, perhaps, the answer is yes, as doctors Bruce Flaherty and Robert Smith come to verbal blows over the health of patient Christopher, at times, you feel 21 years shed little light on how mental health is approached. Many references in the script, still sit unquestionably in the year 2000, however, with this reworking, one thing has changed dramatically. In the original version of the play, the two

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year. Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device. Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston)