Skip to main content

Flash Festival 2017: Can't Stop Theatre at St Peter's Church, Northampton

Upon entering the church to see Ben Sullivan's one man Flash show about alcoholism, you are presented with a neat little stage setting of a chess board with cans and bottles representing the pieces. It is a genuinely clever idea and lays the grounding for this extremely well performed and balanced play.

During the piece, Ben plays three characters affected in some way by alcohol. We have the first, a son of alcoholism, a disturbing and emotionally charged monologue portraying well the damage that drinks cause to the family. Then we move onto an occasionally comical posh guy and his checkered past with the devil's water. Finally, we have an Irish chap, a would-be quitter whose world is collapsing as a result of his failure.

Each of the characters is tremendously well created without descending into stereotypes and the three are expertly ordered as well, with the calmly relaxed delivery of the first moving into the much more physical of the second and finishing on clearly the saddest story. It is a piece of exceptional storytelling often in its simplest form with the static approach of the first piece especially, however, Ben brings to life the three characters with amazing skill and maintains them throughout, including a constantly solid Irish accent.

Often this play feels just too simple in the exterior, however, this is its strength, stripping away excesses of over complicated stage shows and relying on genuinely great acting and powerful narrative. A true gem of Flash.

Performance viewed: Wednesday, 24th May 2017

The Flash Festival 2017 ran between Monday 22nd and Saturday 27th May 2017 at three venues across the town.

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Flashdance - The Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

For the second week running, the Milton Keynes Theatre is overrun by a wave of eighties nostalgia as Selladoor's production of Flashdance The Musical follows hot on the heels of An Officer and a Gentlemen. However, is it nice to have more of that classic decade upon the stage? The answer mostly is yes, despite the fact that the story driving Flashdance is that light and flimsy at times, you just have to sit back and watch the dancing and the bright colours to get you through.

Welding genius, Alex Owens, has her sights set for a bigger thing beyond this tired and struggling factory in Pittsburgh.  Hoping to take her dancing beyond Harry's bar, she plans to make big, via Shipley Dance Academy.  Then, also drifting into her life comes Nick Hurley, who initially unknown to her, happens to be the factory bosses son, the scene is set for romance.

Flashdance has a generally excellent cast led with a tremendously good performance from Joanne Clifton as Alex Owens. Those familiar with …

Review of Bugsy Malone (Clyde Company) at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Last night I was back at Royal & Derngate to see the Youth Theatre/Young Company production of Bugsy Malone, this time seeing the almost completely different cast of Clyde Company. This second evening of the show had the fortune of running much smoother, with less of the technical issues that had beset the previous evening and restricted the success of some of the scenes.

It was most apparent in the Fat Sam's Grand Slam scene, which became a greater hive of activity, with a full dance routine taking place, which unfortunately hadn't happened the previous night. Leading this scene was a full-on performance from Morgan Charles as Tullulah, exhibiting the vocal talent, and most especially the dance skills she had shown in last years Fame.

In the lead for this second company, and taking a much different approach to the role, was Nathan Stroud. Here we had a more mature Bugsy, not just in age, but in personality. The slightly more serious style worked excellently alongside a st…

Review of The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

During the interval of The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, last weeks production at The Playhouse Theatre Northampton, I got involved in a conversation between a couple sitting next to me. The lady was very much of the opinion that the play was a comedy, while the gentleman, had formed one that it was a tragedy. They were joking of course in the conversation, but it did highlight the differences that Debbie Isitt's dark comedy might have between the sexes. And also now perhaps the passing of time. When this was written in the nineties, Isitt's play was a forthright feminist play, heralding the championing over of the ladies over the man. One the ex-wife plotting to cook him, the other, the new lover, potentially already very tired of him after just three years.

The husband, Kenneth (Jem Clack) elopes initially in pursuit of sex with Laura (Diane Wyman), after his nineteen years of marriage with Hilary (Corinna Leeder) has become tired and passionless. Then later, he elopes secr…