Theatre reviews 2019
Midsummer Night’s Dream National Theatre Live (Broadway Cinema) 17th October
On the 17th October some members of the U3A Theatre group went to the Broadway cinema in Nottingham to watch a film of a live performance of Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. What a fantastic performance from the Royal National Theatre. Directed by Nicholas Hytner
the performance from the Bridge Theatre in London was played in the round. Members of the audience standing in the pit became part of the performance.
The play opened in patriarchal Athens but soon moved to the forest where the fun and games began. The director very cleverly changed some of the gender dialogues resulting in a “laugh out loud” look at female to male, male to male and female to female sexuality. Shakespeare’s comedy was taken to new heights with incredible and extremely hilarious performances by the four main actors: Gwendoline Christie (Titania), Oliver Chris (Oberon), David Moorst (Puck) and Hammed Animashaun (Bottom). “Flying fairies” performing acrobatics suspended above the audience, modern touches, for example guitar playing and the use of a mobile phone, and a bit of improvisation all added to the magic of the whole performance. (Frances Lomax)
Spirit Level 19th October at Bonington Theatre, Arnold.
To complete our week of comedy, five of us travelled to Arnold for Spirit Level by Pam Valentine.
The small comfy theatre was easy to find and the large car park is free in the evenings.
The play is set in the sitting room of off the beaten track Cobblers Cottage, the home of a former successful author, Jack Cameron, and his wife Susie, who both unfortunately died in a drowning accident while on holiday in Italy. Unfortunately too, Jack was an atheist and St Peter wouldn’t allow him through the Pearly Gates. So the pair of ghosts are back at the cottage trying to put off the Estate Agent and any prospective tenants. Until that is Simon and Felicity Willis come along. Simon is a devotee of Jack’s books and an aspiring author, so he gets Jack’s vote, and Felicity is pregnant, so Susie is all for her living there. Simon’s writer’s block and lack of finances provide the spirits with opportunities to intervene, with obvious hilarious consequences, especially when Felicity’s mother interferes. And when Susie is desperate for help a very amusing Guardian Angel comes along. There were also some poignant moments, one reminding us that life is for living. When the new baby arrives one snowy night it is Jack, well acted by Christian King, who makes a life changing, or spirit changing, decision.
The set, lighting and effects were well done, and there were some good performances. The non-interaction between the two couples worked very well, the mother-in-law, Linda Burgin, lived up to her billing, and then some, and the Guardian Angel, Val Petty, was a treat.
An Enemy of the People – 14th Sept Playhouse
An opportunity to see two outstanding actors Alex Kingston and Malcolm Sinclair appearing in Nottingham was too good to be missed and they didn’t disappoint, their acting performance was superb.
I don’t think the storyline of the play was very strong, local and global politics, fake news, whistle blowers, and personal issues which split the family.
Apart from that, it kept your interest and was an excellent production, especially the heavy rain scene. Cath Gascoyne
The Lovely Bones – 26th Sept – Theatre Royal
I had read the book and was expecting an intense and harrowing experience. How could I be so wrong! The way this version of the story was told was uplifting and totally enjoyable!
I particularly like the way it was staged and lit to give the illusion of earth and heaven at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this “ Lovely” show. Tricia Dilley
CHICAGO – Duchess Theatre Long Eaton
The eleven young female performers who made up the cast of CHICAGO at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton were impressive! From opening overture to finale they were all on stage the whole time, singing, dancing, and dramatising, with only a dozen chairs as props. The two actors playing Velma and Roxie were very talented, and had great voices. The other cast members ably filled out all the remaining characters, often juggling parts between them. They entertained us portraying in turn: Mama, fellow prisoners; husbands, lovers, lawyers, judge and jury.
An orchestra of brass, woodwind and percussion occupied the back of the stage, accompanying the performers as they sang the well-known lyrics, including ‘All That Jazz’, ‘My Own Best Friend’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle’. They also were very good, but sometimes a bit too loud for the strength of some of the less confident singers.
All in all, it was a really enjoyable performance. We all left well satisfied and I was still singing ‘All That Jazz’ on the way home. Ann McGillivray
Stepping Out – Lace Market Theatre Nottingham
Cosy little theatre, lovely ambience the play was very good and funny. Actors were good too. I really enjoyed it. Marta Stimpson
RSC Live Screening Broadway Cinema Taming of the Shrew
Two very contrasting reviews :
I have not seen a Shakespeare play before and I found it quite absorbing. The acting was superb and the play itself was very funny. We were also given interviews with the actors which helped me understand the plot. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next play. Pat Towner
On the 5th June we went to see Taming of the Shrew at the Broadway Theatre. I have never been to a Shakespeare play before so I thought I would give it a try.
That was the first and last time, I now know I am not a Shakespeare fan! I didn’t find it entertaining and I thought it was quite childish in times. I couldn’t wait for it to finish so I could go home. Barbara Bailey
Vicar of Dibley – Beeston Players
I went to see this play with the theatre group. I found it very entertaining. The actors played their parts brilliantly and the script was well written. I left feeling that I’d had a good time and it was good value. Pat Towner
Footloose – Derby Theatre
a production by Centre Stage
Centre Stage is a large amateur group of young people who filled the stage with energy.
Apart from a few minor teething issues with some of the actors not being heard, the sound was passable. The soundtrack features some great songs like “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”, “The Girl Gets Around”, “Somebody’s Eyes”, the gorgeous “Almost Paradise”, “Holding Out For A Hero” and of course the title track “Footloose”. In general we felt the young people did well and most of us enjoyed their performance
Memory of Water – Nottingham Playhouse
The play is about three sisters who arrive at their remote childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Having grown apart, the siblings argue and joke as they sort through their mother’s belongings and gradually confide about the realities of their own adult lives. But it’s when they move on to childhood recollections that they discover they remember things differently. The Memory of Water is a play about family, grief and the unreliability of memory. It is in turn both poignant and funny. It was well acted and our group enjoyed it.
Girl on the Train
The U3A Theatre Group went to see “The Girl on the Train” at the Theatre Royal which was brilliant. The cast and production was very good but Samantha Womack stole the show.
Cemetery Club – Lace Market Theatre Nottingham
On the 2nd March we went to see Cemetery Club at the Lace Market Theatre. It was a very entertaining play.
Every month New Yorkers Ida, Lucille and Doris meet up on a Sunday for tea, gossip and reminiscing before visiting the cemetery to pay respects at their husbands graves. The trio have very different attitudes to life after bereavement.
Doris remains devoted to her late husband, believing marriages are forever, while extrovert Lucille devotes herself instead to ‘playing the field’. Ida longs to start a new chapter in her life but feels guilty at the idea of loving another man. A chance encounter at the cemetery with Sam a widower opens the possibility of a new romance for Ida.
The play is touching and a very humorous exploration of friendship, loss and finding love again later in life.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend anyone who gets the chance to go and see it.
Bess of Hardwick – Old Library Theatre Mansfield
Bess of Hardwick was almost a one woman show with a clever blend of theatre and film allowing Bess to interact with some of the men who helped to make her one of the most powerful and wealthiest women in England. I found Michelle Todd’s portrayal of Bess most convincing as a strong character whose destiny didn’t just happen but was shaped by her visions for the future and her careful use of wealth. This ‘one woman show’ was very well done and I would go to see it again.