Wednesday, 12 October 2005

Woking Drama Festival - Friday 7th October

Ottershaw Players - Auras by Suzannah Zerfahs.

A group of people meet in a formless limbo. Their past and present actions will decide their fates.

This is a difficult one for me to comment upon. As a member of the group, I read this play before it was even cast.

I found the character of 'Yellow' a little superfluous. Necessary to drive the plot forward, but she didn't seem to have a good enough reason to be in that place as some of the others.

I also felt that the first, prologue scene was unnecessary - the audience were able to understand the characters and why they were dressed in their colours without that.

The adjudicator pointed out, fairly I think, that the action was a bit too confined to the front of the stage.

Tim Matthews gave an excellent performance as 'Red' and Nicky Breslin was very good as 'White'. Michael Stainer's 'Blue' was OK, but I think Mike needs to work on his diction. Claire Groom did what she could with 'Yellow', subject to my reservations about the character.

Overall, the direction was imaginitive though. Certainly 100% better than MY first attempt!

Lighted Fools Theatre Company - Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Act 2) by Keith Waterhouse

The famous writer mulls over his life and tells anecdotes while he is locked in his local Soho pub overnight.

Fantastic! It's a marvellous play anyway and this team of five actors put together a superb show.

The actor playing 'Jeff' put in a bravura performance. The audience were eating out of his hand from the moment the curtain opened. And the supporting cast showed their characterisations with an immediacy that was fun to watch.

Certainly one of my two favourite pieces at the time of writing.

Another Theatre Company - 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane.

A young, female writer goes mad and kills herself.

Well. It was an imaginitive enough effort at presenting this item. The three female cast members were certainly committed to the production. Not sure I quite believed the two male performers though.

However. It's a terrible piece of writing. Or rather, it's a piece of writing that really shouldn't be shown as theatre.

Sarah Kane was very ill and wrote what she felt. The writing wasn't published. Then a few months later she topped herself. And since then it's been made available.

I think that this is the very personal outpourings of a very troubled young mind and any attempts to try to portray this in a theatrical setting are ultimately misguided and patronising (to Ms Kane).

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional theatre critic or a qualified drama adjudicator. I'm biased in favour of stuff that isn't dull. Sorry if my opinions offend you - it's nothing personal!

3 comments:

Delmonti said...

I had a look at the website for the show times and didnt see the ottershaw players on for the 12th.... I havnt checked back to verify this, it was a fleeting visit. I would of popped along to give some support if I know it was on yesterday!

Anyhow, it all seems very above me, I had no idea you could read all that into a play. I guess it's because I'm just an ordinary punter and the limited amout of plays I've seen have been outstanding (last one was about a year ago in the west end, twas One Flew Over the Cookoo;s nest with Christian Slater (I think) and it just blew me away)...

Anyhow, keep the reports going. How's about some pictures or is that a no-no when people are performing??

PT said...

No, Ottershaw Players were on the 7th. I posted the report on the 12th!

Runnymede Drama Group are doing "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in November (http://www.rdg.org/index.php?view=production&id=161).

They're usually very good!

PT said...

Oh - and you're right - photography's not allowed :-(