Skip to main content

Review of UoN Fringe: Lawmen by Flux Theatre at The Platform, Northampton

Way back in April 2014, No Way Out was the first production that I saw from local amateur group Masque Theatre, it was a version of Jean-Paul Sartre's Huis Clos (No Exit), and four years later, the University of Northampton group Flux Theatre provide another version, presented in a far more claustrophobic style and modernised considerably.

Seated in a circle, barely more than five metres in diameter, the three actors. Amber Jade Harrison, James Grayson and Ross Bayliss perform an adaptation of Huis Clos, titled Lawmen. This becomes perhaps one of the closest proximity productions that I have ever seen, and likely to, so much so, that often the actors are even seated in adjacent seats. to the audience.

James Grayson
We, the audience, are not there, of course, it may be close contact, but these three characters are in their own world. These three have been thrown into this Sartre inspired world of lies, and deception. Who are the truthful ones, who is the controlling menace? We do not know of course until the end, so, as an audience, we go through there fears as well.

As well as being exemplarily staged, this is also stunningly performed. With such proximity, there is no escaping close scrutiny of the audience, and as such, it is key for such solid performances, here we can see the facial mannerisms in total detail, and do we get them.

Ross Bayliss
There are no weak links here, we have Grayson's powerful and violent character, perhaps being played by the other into aggression, perhaps actually the guilty one? He has been an amazing presence on stage in all previous shows, and here Grayson he is no different. Stunning work.

Bayliss plays the more innocent feeling character, no less disturbed by the world he finds himself in. He provides the perfect balance against Grayson's character, the sort of everyman character that we as an audience can perhaps latch onto more?
Amber Jade Harrison

Finally, we have Amber Jade Harrison, throwing even more confusion into the mix. Harrison is the most controlled and measured performance on display here, quiet and contemplative, amazingly so at times. The gradual exposure of what she has done is expertly eeked out, and the impact that the revelation makes is all the more powerful due to this.

I really loved Lawmen, it is intense in your face theatre that has three brilliant performances from the cast. Its power is brought home in the final sequence of a most spectacular light show and theatre and leaves its audience understandably reeling as a result. Brutal and really quite brilliant.

Performance reviewed: Friday 23rd March 2018 at The Platform, Northampton.

The UoN Fringe ran between Friday 23rd and Monday 26th March 2018.

Popular posts from this blog

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) and…

Review of West Side Story by the Northampton Musical Theatre Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Last week it was that time of year again when the talented amateur performers of the Northampton Musical Theatre Company got their moment upon the big stage of the Derngate. This year their ambition was to bring Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' ambitious West Side Story to the stage. Mixing classic songs and challenging dance routines revolving around the fifties set retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, this was a tremendously tough show for an amateur group to take on.

However, as expected, this talented, and always near professional group made it work, despite a very shaky start. The opening, and classic, dance routine between the Jets and the Sharks, merging ballet with contemporary, never quite works, not due to lack of effort of the performers, it's just that it is just so tough to get right. It is though probably the one slightly weak part of the evening. From then on, bar a few slightly stilted dance routines, West Side Story becomes…

Review of The Producers at Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

You need a pretty special show to justify a 120-mile journey, however, I was assured that this production of Mel Brooks' The Producers at Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Well, was worth that effort. In the end, it more or less was very worthwhile.

The Producers, from the mind of Mel Brooks, first appeared as a film 51 years ago, and much later became this musical in its debut on Broadway in 2001. It tells the story of the unscrupulous theatre producer Max Bialystock, far away from his successful days and now a flop master as the Opening Night lyrics "We've seen sh*t, but never like this" suggest.

As Bialystock, the artistic director of Trinity, John Martin, steps into the role, and his brilliant performance from start to finish is a dream. Commanding the large and challenging role, and although there are many highlights of his performance, Betrayed for me is one of the most simply delivered and yet most entertaining pieces of the show. His comic timing is brilliant throu…