Skip to main content

Flash Festival 2017: A Sinner Kissed An Angel by Merge Theatre at St Peter's Church, Northampton

Mentioning the name Ruth Ellis to people of a certain age even after over sixty years brings about a strong emotional reaction with some, and even for those not of a certain age, many people know well the name and her story of being the final woman hung in Britain.
Olivia Sarah Jane Noyce

This nicely researched play from Merge Theatre (opening my fourth year at Flash) tells at times vividly that story, from the early days of her meetings with her future husband George Ellis (played by Jennifer Etherington), via her success at 'The Little Club' and onto her destructive meeting with David Blakely.

Connor McCreedy
Centre in the play is an extremely solid performance from Olivia Sarah Jane Noyce as Ruth Ellis, portraying the confident and freewilled person with style, whose confidence remains to her final days in Holloway.

Jennifer Etherington
Jenny Watson is also excellent as her sister Muriel, the quiet opposite of Ruth and she is superbly emotional in her narration scenes moving the story forward. Connor McCreedy is a coldly played David Blakely, vicious but without being obvious about it.

Jenny Watson
There are in this generally serious play some lighthearted moments of housewives guides which themselves progress into much darker and gloomier territory as we move through the story. There is a great, but disturbing line describing eggs being prepared as to "beat them like he beats you" which successfully chills and turns these pieces down a grim, but a balanced path. All of the cast are excellent in these scenes, although the glorious over the top feminine performance from Connor is the standout.

If there is one criticism to lay at A Sinner Kissed An Angel is that it is perhaps too long, a significant amount of momentum is lost at times during the play with a few scenes that could have maybe been cut or shortened to make it a more condensed production.

However it is nicely played and a thought provoker and brings forward to a new generation a story of perhaps regret and more than a little injustice that helped turn around the world of criminal law forever.


The Flash Festival 2017 runs between Monday 22nd and Saturday 27th May, 2017 at three venues across the town. Tickets can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flash-theatre-festival-2017-tickets-34315017140, with details at https://www.facebook.com/FlashFest2017

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…