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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Enfield’

The cast list for the 1979 Trevor Nunn production for the RSC reads like a who’s who of British actors, including Zoe Wanamaker, David Suchet, Juliet Stevenson and the now departed Richard Griffiths and Ian Charleston. Suchet also featured in Edward Hall’s 2001 NT revival. It’s no co-incidence that it’s the RSC & NT that have staged this 1930 Kauffman & Hart comedy, the first of their eight collaborations, in London – it requires big resources. The RSC production famously ended with 15 minutes of song and dance by the full ensemble plus band, which sent you home hopping and skipping. This is a scaled-down, shorter adaptation by Hart’s son for 13 actors playing 22 roles. Mind you, it still needs 8 costume makers and 5 wig technicians!

So here we are another 15 years on, and its the turn of contemporary powerhouse The Young Vic in a fine production by Richard Jones with designs by Hyemi Shin, featuring Harry Enfield’s stage debut. He play’s silent film mogul Glogauer, who finds himself competing with the talkies which he first turned down. As soon as he sees the first talkie, Vaudevillian Jerry Hyland is inspired to sell his act with May Daniels and George Lewis to head West for part of the new action, initially running an elocution school (to teach the formerly silent to talk), until Glogauer comes under the spell of George, who ends up running the studios, himself under the spell of the pretty but talentless Susan Walker, who becomes an unlikley star.

It’s a satire on Hollywood and it’s great fun. Enfield is very good, as indeed is fellow comedian Kevin Bishop as Jerry (though he does have stage acting experience). Favourites Claudie Blakley and John Marquez are on fine form as May and George. Amanda Lawrence gives us another of her show stealing turns as Glogauer’s secretary Miss Leighton and there’s great work from Lucy Cohu as columnist Helen Hobart, Lizzy Connolly as Susan and Adrian Der Gregorian in no less than four roles. The star of the show, though, is Nicky Gillibrand’s magnificent costumes and Cynthia De La Rosa’s wigs, hair and make-up!

Huge seasonal fun.

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Well, it’s March and I’m still catching up with Edinburgh ones-that-got-away…..

When you first hear that this is a bunch of people reading from autobiographies, it doesn’t seem like an enticing prospect. The reviews were mixed but word-of-mouth and bloggers more favourable. It’s not long into the show when the show’s sub-title ‘you couldn’t make this stuff up’ rings very true indeed.

Last night, there were six excellent readers – Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan & Sally Phillips from C4’s sketch show Smack the Pony, Harry Enfield, James Lance and Sam Roukin – reading from, amongst others, David’s Hasselhoff and Cassidy, boy band ‘N Sync, Ivana Trump and Britney Spears. After initial solo turns, the readers return in different configurations, the best of which were Katie Price & Peter Andre spliced together and, lest you think this is a modern phenomena, a ‘mash up’ of Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher autobiographies from the time the latter moved on from Reynolds to Taylor.

It’s a clever idea, the extracts are well-chosen and the readings were well delivered, but at £24 for 70 mins I did feel a bit cheated and wished I had caught it on the Edinburgh fringe, where it would have been better value and more at home. It’s back at Leicester Square Theatre on 11th April if you want to catch it.

 

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