Skip to main content

Review of UoN Fringe 2019: Mein Hodenkrebs by Light in the Dark Theatre Company at The Platform Club, Northampton

Having seen in excess of 70 University shows through Flash and this new breed, the Fringe, I have to say that I have enjoyed enough of all but one of them, to make them worthwhile, and to judge them a success, even if just one for ambition. Mein Hodenkrebs from Light in the Dark Theatre Company is a struggle though, but it does show immense promise at times, but unfortunately, that is mostly all on the big screen.

Mein Hodenkrebs means My Testicular Cancer and is a comedy set in the body of Zak, a student whose world turns upside down with the news that cancer is riddling his body. That cancer here manifests itself in this play in a series of bizarre attempts to create political satire as characters like Boris and Theresa battle it out in Zak's body. Some of it works, the rectum scene, for instance, most of it feels hard work to watch, and irrelevant to the show.

Our performers. Ben Loftus, David Wallace, Giacomo Galbiati and Kyle Lawson are good enough, throwing themselves into the material, perhaps too much. It is just that the material is so poor at times, they can't really make it interesting. Then is a ridiculous franticness to the whole piece which leaves it with no control, the voices a lot of the performers adopt become too screeching to become clear enough to hear the dialogue, especially in the acoustics of the venue (something they should have observed more perhaps). It is all a bit of a mess, even if Gollum really is rather well done.

However, that is the live action scenes, a good part of this show, maybe fifty per cent (even if it feels less at times, due to the excessive nature of some of the live scenes), is taken up by a Peep Show style video. This is where we see the world of Zak outside his body, and this material is nearly 100% better than the live action. In fact, much of it is brilliant.

The characters are well rounded, interesting, and the whole piece is brilliantly put together. It runs the full path of brilliant comedy, stylish filming and has a true heart in its story of Zak and his brother truly is brilliant. The landlord scenes, although irrelevant mostly to the plot, are also huge fun and performed with full commitment, I'm glad I wasn't in the Aldi car park or that street at the time of recording. The opening piece to the music of ELO was pretty much one of the best-pre-recorded scenes I have seen on these shows, superbly cut, and shows that these guys have tremendous talent at film making first of all, but also writing good material. It is just a shame that for the live scenes, all quality control went out the window.

I don't like writing bad reviews, and with the University shows I hate them more, and fortunately rarely have to write them. The live material here reminded me far too much of the disaster that was 2015's The Secrets of Man (also a cast of four men interestingly), however, they didn't have the video footage to save the situation. Here at least, it's cast prove that they are better than this, it is just a shame they didn't show it all the way through the hour performance.

Performance viewed: Wednesday 1st May 2019

The Fringe Festival 2019 runs until Sunday 5th May 2019 at The Platform Club Northampton, and one show at Hazelrigg House.

Details here: Fringe Festival 2019

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 Sister Act by the Northampton Musical Theatre Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

South Pacific at Royal & Derngate last year set a remarkable benchmark for an "amateur" production, with a large talented cast, superb vocals, sets and a polish up there with a professional production. Sister Act, this years production from the Northampton Musical Theatre Company was more of the same, but perhaps taken up a notch or two. Sister Act is a musical based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy and was first performed in 2009. Written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, it is a likable and fun musical which genuinely came as a surprise to me. The opening scene at Curtis's Bar and Nightclub is to be honest not the best though and genuinely didn't fill me with much hope. It feels as if it gives nothing to the cast, although it creates the premise of the story coupled with the incident outside the bar. Likewise, I didn't take much to the Police Station scene either, so it didn't bode well. When we reach the Queen Of Angels Cathedral though, this show

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