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01 Dec 2016

Review of ‘Blithe Spirit’

By Paul Campion  In line with the current vogue of serving show-themed drinks in the BLT Bar, the tipple on offer for ‘Blithe Spirit’ was the very Coward-esque dry Martini. Which was entirely apt, as this production proved to be a winning concoction of Coward’s dry wit and some deliciously intoxicating performances. Written in less than two weeks at the height of the Blitz, ‘Blithe Spirit’ was Coward’s attempt to cheer up the beleaguered British public. It did much more […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘The Ladykillers’

By Arthur Rochester I have to admit to approaching this production with some slight apprehension, based on my previous experience of popular screen originals re-created for the very different medium of live theatre. Two such which I adjudicated in recent Kent Drama Association festivals, for example, ‘Allo ‘Allo and Dad’s Army, both seemed to me to have suffered in the transition – although, incredibly, a stage version of the 1946 David Niven classic A Matter Of Life And Death worked extraordinarily well in […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Doubt’

By Mike Savill How much information does one need to judge someone else? This question lies at the heart of John Patrick Shanley’s ‘Doubt: a Parable’ with its central plot premise revolving around a Catholic nun and school principal who believes, but has no proof, that a priest is sexually abusing one of her students. That the student in question is black in the pressure cooker sensitivity of America in 1964 only adds the first of many strands which unravel […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Good People’

By Mike Savill What is a review? Is it a critical judgement of the play as a piece of written art or an assessment of its execution on the stage? The answer, I suppose, is an amalgam of the two, but the balance does not necessarily have to be equal. So let me say it straight out, to me, David Lindsay-Abaire’s, ’Good People’, as a play was, well, ‘okay’. A quintessentially Bostonian-centred play, exploring the struggles of living in a […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Brontë’

By Richard Bowdery Playwright Polly Teale has not taken the easy option with Bronte, her third and final play to look at this remarkable literary family. Some writers might have stuck to a linear approach to tell the story of three women who wrote at a time when it was considered unfeminine to do so. Not Teale. She has interwoven characters from various Bronte novels to add a new dimension to the telling of their story: highlighting the struggle to […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Invincible’

By Mike Savill It would be very easy (and irresponsibly lazy) to write off ‘Invincible’ as one of a number of ‘Abigail’s Party’ clones that has littered the theatrical landscape since that seminal play crept out of suburban Essex in 1977. Mismatched couples getting together for an evening of ‘polite’ conversation suffused with an undercurrent of social tension (and pretension), insightful commentary on the human condition, biting comedy undercut with powerful tragedy: the ingredients are all there. Torben Betts’ play, […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Yes, Prime Minister’

By Peter Yolland ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ developed from the satirical BBC programme ‘Yes, Minister’ written by Sir Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. The stage play by the same writers was produced in 2010. Set principally in the private office of a British Cabinet minister in the (fictional) Department of Administrative Affairs in Whitehall, Yes Minister followed The Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP, played by Paul Eddington, in his various struggles to formulate and enact legislation or effect departmental changes that […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Alice’

By Richard Stewart Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – along with its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There – are two of the best-loved pieces of children’s literature. They are also nonsense. Complete and total nonsense. Sounds perfect for the Youth Group then. Laura Wade’s adaptation keeps the enduring charm of the original, subjecting her Alice to a ‘greatest-hits’ of the tale’s most recognisable moments; the Tweedles, the Caterpillar, the Queen of Hearts all feature, but the script […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘The Pitmen Painters’

By Arthur Rochester Pauline Armour’s determination and patient wait to be able to bring this play to the BLT stage was fully justified by what will surely be remembered as one of the high points of the current season. The play, by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall, tells the true story of a group of coalminers from Ashington in Northumberland who in 1934 organised a Workers’ Education Association course in art appreciation – almost, it seems, by accident: “To be […]

01 Jan 2016

Review of ‘Daisy Pulls It Off’

By Julie Binysh ‘Daisy Pulls it Off’s author, Denise Deegan, went to a state school, but she was heavily influenced by the girls’ boarding school stories of Enid Blyton and others. So, whilst her 1983 play is a parody of the genre, it is also a nostalgic celebration of a reading experience of generations of girls (myself included) who attended ordinary ‘elementary’ schools, like our heroine. Daisy Meredith is a poor but clever girl who becomes Grangewood School’s first scholarship […]