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Review of Kinky Boots at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

The hit musical travels from Broadway to the West End, to, erm, Northampton, as the first ever British tour of Kinky Boots launches in its spiritual home (fact fans, it was actually a factory nine miles down the road in Earls Barton that became the home of kinky boots).

The 2005 film of Kinky Boots is a relatively minor old British film and didn't exactly set the box office alight, but it has a wealth of homegrown acting talent (including a certain Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola, on his way to Oscars success a few years later). Personally, I really loved it (although its depiction of Northampton is overtly weird), and as well as some great performances, it was sharply written by Geoff Deane and the always remarkably reliable Tim Firth. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the basis of their work is the best part of this stage musical version of the film. Despite this being a book by Harvey Fierstein, the best lines and situations are plunked right from Deane and Firth's work.

In …

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 Out Of Focus at Hardingstone Village Hall, Hardingstone

A bit over five years stalking the theatre world of Northampton and a little beyond has never oddly enough led me to the door of The Hardingstone Players. Last Friday though I finally rectified that as I saw the final performance of their production of Peter Gordon's farce Out of Focus. Never also having seen a Peter Gordon play, left me with an interesting evening ahead.

When an unfortunate over-booking at the Church Hall happens, a gathering of badminton players, brownies, pantomime actors and an odd exhibitor of slides collides into a chaotic and rather eclectic cast for this years pantomime, Super Cinders.

Presented upon an excellently created set by  Alison Roberts and Iain Hodge, the evening is set for introduction to a feast of odd characters, and this beyond everything is where the strength of this production lies. The performers had clearly gone to great lengths to make their characters as big and bold as the colours upon Cinderella's oddly shaped carriage. We have t…