Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Some audience feedback

Well, as at the time of writing (Tuesday 22nd) the local newspaper can't be bothered to publish a review of the show, nor of the superb Oleanna (presently running at the Maddermarket), both of which would be grateful for its support of local amateur theatre. (They have, however, reviewed Shaun the Sheep at the Theatre Royal.)

However, here, from the audience (whose opinion matters most of all), are some recent comments emailed to the cast - both from members of other local theatre groups:

"I felt that I must let you know how much we enjoyed the whole experience, because that is what it is, wherever did you get all that talent from? both yourself [Angela Rowe] and the rest of the cast, it was without doubt one of the funniest and most professional amateur productions we have seen, the timing was always spot on, the singing and dancing was terrific. I was looking through the programme again to see which act of the 39 was the funniest, and I can't, each one was a little pearl. I will send an e-mail around the [Saxlingham] Players urging them to come watch and enjoy an evening laced from beginning to end with fun and laughter."

"A bunch of Wymondham Players saw your Shakespeare Revue on Saturday night and were all knocked out by it. All acting, singing and a bit of dance too; we thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a delight to see good ensemble playing; everyone taking a turn and everyone shining. Please pass on our thanks to the rest of the cast and break legs in the rest of the week."

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Will Shakespeare - but not as you know him...

Wondering why you'd want to come and see an evening of Shakespeare? Actually, there's not an Elizabethan costume in sight*, and while you might hear a few words of the actual Bard, they're more likely to be sung to the tune of Let's All Go Down the Strand...

*unless you count the crown and cloak worn by Huw on one occasion, which owes far more to The Art of Coarse Acting than to anything else

According to the writers, Messrs Luscombe & McKee, “The idea for The Shakespeare Revue came about on Shakespeare’s birthday, 23 April 1993, when the RSC was planning a celebratory service in Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church. Light relief was needed among other more serious readings, and in searching for something suitable, we were reminded of just how many comic writers have used Shakespeare as raw material for their work. Unearthing such pieces became a hobby, until eventually the outline of a stage show began to emerge.”

The result is a wonderful cornucopia of music and words, song and dance, comedy and pathos – in the irresistible style of Variety. Remember those wonderful Revue shows of the mid-20th century? The mixture of styles and eras owes as much to end-of-the-pier shows and concert parties as it does to the West End; a different scenario is before your eyes approximately once every three minutes.

Mr Shakespeare provides our theme, of course, and in a couple of cases the precise words, but for most of the show it’s the characters and the situations that provide the links, viewed from a rather different perspective. Cleopatra is deeply insulted that Signor Verdi wrote operas for Macbeth and Othello, but never for her. The four Ladies of London mourn the passing of Sir John Falstaff in the most pathetic song imaginable. Henry V, Hamlet and Juliet implore us to give them a rest. Even Just William finds his way in there. And be ready for the Princess and her maid Alice, from Henry V, to bring you almost word-for-word Shakespeare as you’ve never heard it before. The writers are drawn from across a century of creativity, with (among others) Victoria Wood, Fry & Laurie, Bill Oddie & Tim Brooke-Taylor, Sandy (The Boyfriend) Wilson, Fascinating Aida and Bernard Levin all contributing their talent.

Cassie & Selwyn are thrilled to have assembled a wonderful cast: they come with a wide variety of styles and experience, but every one is rising with aplomb to the challenges we’ve thrown at them. Gill Tichborne, Angela Rowe and Abi Dennington-Price are well known to Barn audiences – but you may be surprised by vocal talents that have been largely hidden from you until now; Trevor Burton joins us for the first time, having been lured away from the Maddermarket for the occasion; Rob Tiffen and Charlotte Couture came along as new members to the last AGM to see what was going on at the Barn, and were immediately inveigled into taking part; and our own personal Big Friendly Giant, Huw Jones, comes to us courtesy of his singing teacher, Jeff Davies. With the utterly indispensable Mike (Tinks) Carson backstage, Mike Beavis and Dean Weston wrestling with a lighting plot that changes cue every three minutes, and Rudy Lapeer’s valued help with choreography, you are assured of an evening of laughter, foot-tapping and surprises that you won’t forget in a hurry. No previous knowledge of Shakespeare is required…

The Shakespeare Revue
Created by Christopher Luscombe & Malcolm McKee
Directed by Cassie & Selwyn Tillett
17-19 & 23-26 February at 7.30 pm, matinee 2:30 pm 26 February
Sewell Barn Theatre : www.sewellbarn.org
Tickets available £8/£6 from Jarrolds: 01603 697248

Monday, 31 January 2011

Publicity photo shoot

The cast are looking at Mike (who is taking the official publicity shots), not me (up in the gallery)... but aren't they lovely?

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Book your tickets soon!

Are you coming to see the show?

There have been some great challenges (acting, singing and dancing all at one time, for a start)! Sourcing the keyboard (as the Sewell Barn doesn't often perform musical shows, there isn't one in-house) and we're delighted to have been helped by the generous support our lovely friends at Cookes Pianos in Norwich; and making adjustments to the proposed set because one of the cast, at 6'5", can't stand up straight in a key area of the stage...

... but it's going to be fabulous! My lovely and talented gang of seven, plus Selwyn at the piano and the indispensable Tinks (Mike) Carson as stage manager, are making this a joyful production to work on.

Come and see us at The Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich, on 17-19 February & 23-26 February 2011 (matinee 26 February).

The show is full of fun. There are a couple of 'straight' songs - beautiful settings of the Bard's words - but for the most part, this is variety at its best: superb parodies, comic observations, songs and sketches, and the musical and writing skills of some of the best in the business (Victoria Wood, Stephen Fry, Fascinating Aida, Perry Pontac, Cole Porter and the Cambridge Footlights team - to name but a few). No previous knowledge of Shakespeare is required to enjoy a fantastic evening!

So please check out the Sewell Barn's website for details of how to obtain your tickets, and we look forward to seeing you there.