On Friday night I went to see Teechers at Brook Hall in Ottershaw.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. When Clare put Act One on at the WDA festival last October, I was stage manager, so I'd seen that version of the show dozens of times.
Back then it got treated pretty roughly by the adjudicator, though Jack Breslin was nominated for best youth performance.
This time around, with the cast 25% smaller (one of the original four had dropped out and Clare decided to use the suggested casting of 3 actors) the hard work has really paid off.
The show was excellent. Dynamic blocking and energetic performances in a non-stop, breathless production which amused everyone in the hall.
All three of the cast (Suzi Braggins, Jack Breslin & Thomasina Breslin) demonstrated better characterisations this time around, and the extra rehearsal time had led to a more interesting, yet simpler, range of props and furnishings, enabling the action to flow.
I was very impressed with the way they had managed to unlearn the parts they had originally and re-learn their lines as they had been redistributed. Along with learning the entire 2nd act, it was a great feat.
If I had to come up with any criticisms, there would be 2 small points:
1. I'd have to say that at one or two points the lighting was a little too dark (or maybe slightly unfocussed), though as Paul Foster was effectively making his debut on the lighting board, the odd problem was hardly suprising, and I have to say he seemed to get through the 60-odd cues without any fumbles, which is very creditable.
2. There were also a couple of times at which the 'scene changes' (if you can call them that - actually, just moving a table and 4 chairs around!) seemed a little rushed. Once or twice there was opportunity to take time about the change, giving everyone, audience included, time to take a breath before ramping up into the next section.
But those are very minor criticisms and they certainly didn't prevent me enjoying the show enormously.
Well done to Jack, Tommi, Suzi, Clare, Danny, Phil, Paul and Chris for a fantastic production!