Skip to main content

Review of the University Of Northampton BA (Hons) Acting Graduate Showcase 2017 at Tristan Bates Theatre, London

For the third year running, I had the pleasure of being allowed to see another batch of talented actors strut their stuff on a London stage in front of the agents and directors of the acting world. This is always a key and very final moment of the course, and at no point will these people perform together again (although wouldn't that be neat to have performance reunions in years to come!).

There is little point in my going into too much detail again over the performers really as I have done this elsewhere in my final review (click me!). However, the show under the direction of Simon Cole was a neat "showcase" of their talents once again, whipping between scenes featuring duos or trios glued together by swift scene changes. It really was a seize the moment as the actors never got very long to prove themselves.

The format (and some of the content) was the same as last year, and a couple of my picks were Diary of a Madman featuring two superb comic moments from Karr Kennedy and Jessica Bichard, while there was tense stuff from Olivia Sarah Jayne Noyce and Benjamin Hampton in the snippet of Patrick Marber's Closer. I really enjoyed seeing a tiny moment again of Let the Right One In featuring Kundai Kanyama and Ben Barton, although for those who haven't see the full and really quite brilliant play might have struggled on the context.

Luke Mortimore and Tom Garland creeped us out with their piece from Perve and the lady trio of Jennifer Wyndham, Becky Fowler and Jessica Bridge entertained with the rather random scene from Di and Viv and Rose. There finally it all culminated with a brilliant finish of a scene from Morning, where Daniel Ambrose-Jones as his wide-eyed character got more than he bargained for from a menage-a-trois with Jennifer Etherington and Rachel Graham-Brown.

At the end of the show, there was a gathering of everyone in a nicely relaxed meeting where finally myself and fellow blogger The Real Chrisparkle finally got to speak to a few more of the students. There were sandwiches and prosecco and much frivolity from this likeable group of students. They have always mostly been very likeable over the four years I have followed them and that must surely be a strength to be such in this field. However, beyond that, they need strength and drive to move them in a crowded field. I hope like all previous ones they do have this, they were a great bunch, all of them and as always at this departing time, I wish them all tremendous success in the future. Go conquer!


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…