Reviews

Into the Woods

Into the Woods is a modern twist on the Grimm fairy tales, bringing together the characters from the classic stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel into a new narrative about a baker and his wife, their longing for a family of their own and their dealings with the witch next door who has cursed them to remain childless. The melodic and lyrical genius of Stephen Sondheim has historically appealed to a more selective audience within amateur dramatic circles; critically acclaimed performances have rarely corresponded with box office success. However, due to the more
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Busybody

Busybody was originally written in 1964 as a vehicle for one of that era’s leading comic actresses, Irene Handl. Motives for murder abound and everyone is a suspect. A detective superintendent is plagued by two busybodies, a corpse that vanishes and an office cleaner. In the programme, Phil Vivian, the chairman, invites the audience to work out who (if anyone) dunnit, what (if anything) they did and whither (if anywhere) things keep disappearing! The play will keep you on the edge of your seats while having you roaring with laughter as you try to answer those questions. All Saints Dramatic
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The Pajama Game

This musical, based on the 1953 novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell, deals with labour troubles in a pajama-making factory, where workers’ demands for a seven-and-a-half cent raise are going unheeded. In the midst of this ordeal, love blossoms between Babe, the grievance committee head, and Sid, the new factory superintendent. The show is packed with likeable tunes, and first-time full director Gillian Parry has done well to cover some of the dated and haphazard script requirements. Set in a ‘nowhere time’ mixture of 1950s and modern dress, hairstyle and set (top marks for the ’50s phones and kitchen appliances), the script
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Theft

On a particularly warm and sunny evening, a hardy few theatre-goers ventured to see this well-written play and sat fanning ourselves with programmes, leaflets, other people’s hands etc. The story is that two middle-class couples have gone out to dinner and, upon returning to one of the couple’s homes where all are staying, find there has been a burglary. Things have been turned over and items stolen, but the safe left intact (along, curiously, with a large, centrally placed painting that draws the eyes and leaves one thinking ‘Why hasn’t that been pulled off the wall?’) The couples, as characters,
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Twelfth Night

English literature students pore over Twelfth Night in preparation for their final exams, while scholars in Oxbridge colleges and plate-glass Midwest universities tell us that the play is anything from a study in anarchy to a commentary on social divisions in Elizabethan England. What they forget is that Shakespeare wrote it – possibly at the suggestion of Queen Elizabeth – as an entertainment pure and simple: a piece of theatrical candy floss for the Court to enjoy on Twelfth Night 1602. It is why the sub-title is What You Will – Shakespeare regarded his own comedies so lightly that he
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Miss Julie

Historical theatre doesn’t always make good contemporary theatre and to speak plainly, this play’s a struggle. It’s rarely been off the stage since its first production in 1889 and various great directors and actors have had a ball getting their teeth into its social agenda, but it’s a hard one for amateurs. Extremely avant garde in its day for its Darwinian depictions of class and sex struggles, and naturalistic in a brutal way theatrically, it doesn’t have the same impact in the first part of the 21st century. It’s all a bit D H Lawrence on stage but without any
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