Review by Natalie Audley
An extremely touching and involving play of loss and gained motherhood is weaved around a closer look at the horrors of the Holocaust story, in a very human way. In Kindertransport, we see through the eyes of 9 year old Eva as she is taken from her mother and the threat of the Nazi to find safety and a gentile family in England. Less skillfully done was the modern family as Eva’s grown daughter was a little hysterical, nevertheless we are privy to a familiar tract given a fresh, moving light.
Jeeves and Wooster in ‘Perfect Nonsense’
Review by Tom Trott
Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen shine in this inspired rendition of P.G. Wodehouse’s iconic characters. From the moment Mangan’s smile fills the stage the laughs start coming and never, ever stop. If you take longer than seven seconds to catch your breath then watch out as no set-change, costume-change, or prop misses the opportunity to bust your sides. The storyline by the Goodale brothers is the traditional farcical game of hot-potato as Bertie jumps from problem to problem and dodges danger and marriage. The sets are ingenious and the changes meticulous, giving the impression of watching a live-action weather house. But the true joy of the piece is the way that the entire production from writers, to director, actors, and set designers have worked to make every moment feel fresh and spontaneous. Special mention should also go to Mark Hadfield who rounds out the cast and easily matches both Mangan’s comic charm and Macfadyen’s versatility. To spoil the intricacies of the play’s construction would be to rob the audience of the joy of discovering the details for themselves, but rest assured the play is real comedy treat, so whether you’re a Plum aficionado or if you’re wondering why I just mentioned fruit, make the effort to see this production whilst you can for the most fun you can have in a theatre.
The Butterfly Lion
Review Ben Taylor
Equal part whimsical and thought provoking, Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Butterfly Lion’ comes to life under the faithful patronage of director and adaptor Daniel Buckroyd. Successfully blending the child friendly adventure of the protagonist Michael, who is portrayed by the talented Adam Buchanan, and giving the older viewer some laughs is Gwen Taylor’s performance as the elderly Millie. Juliet Shillingford’s set design and Carlton Edward’s music transport us seamlessly from rural England to the Timbavati region in South Africa. Delicately touching on the horrors of WW1 and the themes of loss, this really is a treat for all the ages.
Review by Ben Taylor
The Holocaust and issues surrounding the mass emigration of children out of pre-war Germany is passionately played in Diane Samuels’s sombre but hopeful play. Set in both 1930’s Germany and 1980’s England, two stories unexpectedly collide when one young girl Eva has to leave her parents and a mother has to let go of the parenting strings to her daughter. The performances of these characters are powerful thanks to strong interpretations by Gabrielle Dempsey and Janet Dibley. Paula Wilcox gives rock soild support as the Mancunian grandmother and 30 year old who takes in the orphan, as her and Dempsey share some of the most memorable scenes.