Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Clive Rowe’

I think this was Stiles & Drew’s first show. It’s first production at the Tricycle Theatre, twenty years ago, was directed by Mike Ockrent no less and Cameron Macintosh was its godfather. I loved it, and amongst my fond memories is the appearance of a young Clive Rowe who’d impressed me in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s end-of-year musical Girl Crazy – it may even have been his professional debut.

It still strikes me as an impressive debut musical, with catchy tunes from Stiles and witty lyrics from Drew. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories, it’s more about the characterisation of the animals than it is about the simple story.

In this production, it is mostly well sung, though the small band feels as if it’s in the room next door – well, it almost is, sitting behind a screen on a ‘shelf’ to the left of the stage. The performances too are mostly good – particularly by the three leads. Lee Greenaway is cute and charming as Elephant’s Child, Ian Knauer an authoritative presence as The Eldest Magician and I loved Lisa Baird’s feisty Glaswegian Kolokolo Bird.

The Tabard is a small stage for 11 actors; unfortunately designer Christopher Hone has made it even more difficult for them by over-designing a two-tier set which restricts movement and adds little. In addition, the costumes, though clever, fail to create the magical animal world.

So, a good show well performed but let down by the design and staging I’m afraid…..but worth a second look twenty years on.

Read Full Post »

Back to Hackney Empire for the second year running to end the year at their now legendary panto. This Victorian theatre is made for panto and you can’t but get caught up in the excited anticipation of the full house. Before the curtain has risen on Susie McKenna’s production, you feel part of a community even if you don’t know another soul in the building.

This year’s concoction has Jaygann Ayeh an unfeasibly lovable Jack, his naive cute friend Silly Billy (David Roberts) and Chloe Taylor’s Off Her Trolly Molly infatuated with Jack and loved by Billy. Vegetable references abound with the good fairy Sweet Pea (Abigail Rosser) and baddies Runner Bean, panto veteran Tony Whittle  and Broad Bean, Jenny Dale. Then there’s Dame Daisy, the larger than life Clive Rowe who is now so at home as a dame he may be in his own groundhog day, struggling to get back to legit plays and musicals!

Add in an excellent beanstalk, a Shrek-like giant, a hip-hop snowman (Kat B), the customary cow and a singing gold harp! Yes, a singing gold harp! We even get a small troop of dancing flowers and dancing vegetables. I thought we got a few too many references to TV and too many familiar pop songs this year, but this is a bit of a niggle when what we have after all is the real deal – proper panto rather than celeb-laden mediocrity.

It’s only the second year I’ve been to Hackney on New Years Eve afternoon singing Auld Lang Syne arm-in-arm with the good folk of East London, but I have a suspicion it’s already a tradition. Bliss.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts