Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Like Miss Mansfield, Constant Reader, I am all behind! So a quick catch-up...

We went to see how the HAIR company are faring these days now that Will Swenson who had played 'Berger' has left the show. Well I can report that the understudy and former Tribe member Steel Burkhardt has slipped into the role with ease and in fact the show seems to flow a little easier without Swenson's overly-manic performance.There was no Caissie Levy as 'Sheila' so we had Megan Reinking who although she has a similar voice didn't really have Levy's control so she sounded a bit loosey-goosey when belting.

However the show was still a fantastic experience and as we were in the fifth row, a bit scary being so close to the marauding hippies! It was great to be close enough to see all the interaction between the actors - especially when Gavin Creel had to start the title song again after he ran his fingers through a co-star's hair that was just a bit too manky for Gavin!

Of course we were also close enough to be among the first ones up on the stage at the end... well after I had buffaloed over the rest of our row.
It was nice to linger on the stage after - Owen had a chat with Woof (aka Luther Creek) who had come over to complement O on his beard and I had a wee chat with the ever-chatty, ever-approachable, Chrissie (aka Allison Case). Her rendition of the glorious FRANK MILLS never fails to get me blubby so it was nice to tell her so!London will be the lesser for their disappearance after 4th September.

Last week Owen booked to see GUTTED: A REVENGER'S MUSICAL which played a couple of days at the Riverside Studios before making it's way to Edinburgh.
Now I had no idea what it was all about... and I suspect Owen didn't either, however what he did know was that one of his cultural heroes was playing a featured role - none other than Jim Bob from Carter USM!

What, no programme - not even a photocopied sheet?? I was less than impressed and even less so with the Soho media-type audience who all seemed to know each other. Loudly. Director Chris George popped up to tell us that as it was just a preview it would be nice to laugh as loud as we could - oh and that one of the cast had not been able to make it so someone was standing in! Needless to say my heart was sinking by the time the lights went down.

But damn it all.... it was HUGE fun. Martin White and Danielle Ward's show is a sort of delirious mix of KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS and THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW.

It's the wedding day of Sorrow (the delightful Helen George) to her super-posh boyfriend (the unstoppable Colin Hoult) so everyone should be happy, right? Wrong. Sorrow has tracked the posh bloke for years after finding out he murdered her parents when she was young and now she has him, not only in her wedding photographs but in her sights.

However there is also his awful family to deal with... literally, as they keep turning up at the wrong time. An obnoxious cousin to be smothered, an aunt harpy to be dispatched with a rake, etc. However there is the chance of future happiness with the friendly gardener (Doc Brown). But Sorrow is haunted by Fate (well... a trio of them to be precise) so no one is guaranteed a happy ending.The cast is full of rich comedy talent - The Penny Dreadfuls aka David Reed, Thom Tuck and Humphrey Ker played the ghoulish figures of Fate as well as the three policemen after the murderer while Michael Legge was a prissy, hysterical vicar spouting truisms like "When you sin it's like God sticking his finger up your bum and you have to smell it for the rest of your life"!

Margaret Cabourn-Smith was an acerbic housekeeper, Doc Brown had an appealing presence as the young gardener with a love of M&Ms (but not the peanut ones) and Jim Bob felt his way through his roles of a washed-up pop star and Sorrow's ghostly Dad but did them both with an undeniable charm.As mentioned, Helen George was a delight, a good voice as well as sharp comic timing but the undeniable star of the show was Colin Hoult who did an Alec Guinness and played all the members of the ghastly rich and nasty family - disappearing and re-appearing in quick-change after quick-change and coping disdainfully with recalcitrant props. He was huge fun.

The score was amiable rather than memorable but it is the sort of show that carefully nurtured in a small theatre could become a big cult hit. I wish them well!

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