Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Review: The Case of the Frightened Lady

A classic thriller is in town this week at Milton Keynes Theatre. Adapted from Edgar Wallace’s original classic mystery, brought to us by The Classic Thriller Theatre Company and produced by Bill Kenwright, you’re in for a sophisticated night of murder, chills and great acting.

When Inspector Tanner is called in to investigate a murder at Mark’s Priory, the grand ancestral home of the Lebanon family, he quickly discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. As Tanner moves closer to the heart of the mystery he uncovers a shocking and closely guarded secret. You’ll meet various members of the Lebanon family as well as their servants and butlers and will discover snippets of their secrets throughout the play as the story unfolds.

It was a fantastic performance from all the cast and I especially loved to see Oliver Phelps as Detective Sergeant Totti (aka George Weasley, a Harry Potter obsessive through and through!). I believe this was his theatre debut and although a shame he didn’t have a bigger part with more dialogue, it was a great performance.

The stage was a simple but perfect ‘courtyard’, a central hall within Mark’s Priory between the main house and the servant’s quarters where all the action takes place. The walls are adorned with many coats of arms showing the history of the family and an old dresser to highlight the family’s secrets. A few tricks of lighting tell you another day has passed. There were also some fantastic costumes of the 1930’s era which is when the play is set (1932).

With a couple of spine-tingling screams and claps of thunder thrown in, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of classic whodunit.

For tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Review: The Play That Goes Wrong

This week, MK theatre is graced with the outrageously funny Play That Goes Wrong, produced by Mischief Theatre. If you’re a fan of light-hearted, silly and a little bit slapstick humour in the style of Faulty Towers then this is the play for you. Although I chuckled throughout, it’s not usually my style of humour – my husband however, was in stitches from the moment we took our seats! A thoroughly enjoyable evening and a big well done to all the cast. Actors that are clearly passionate and having a blast on stage, makes for such good entertainment.

There is a well-thought-out stage set which gradually gets demolished throughout and they keep you on your toes with certain things going wrong that you’re expecting to complete random twists that you wouldn’t anticipate.

This comedy follows amateur theatre group, The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, as they attempt to put on the thriller, ‘Murder at Haversham Manor’ and needless to say – nothing goes to plan. The audience is drawn in before the show even starts with the ‘stage crew’ fixing broken doors and trying to find Winston the dog. They lose props, forget lines, things fall, get spilt or broken but somehow, they make it to the end!

It was fun to experience an almost back-stage style performance with sneak peeks of actors psyching themselves up before going on stage and improvising with the wrong props or lines – things which I’m certain must happen throughout rehearsals for any show. It’s also what makes theatre so fascinating – unlike television shows, where the actors have had chance to re-take the scene and all has been edited before we see it – on the stage, it’s completely live and if an actor forgets their lines – better start improvising!

Go see this play if a) you have a sense of humour and/or b) you’d like to exercise your abs.

For tickets, go to www.atgtickets.com

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Review: The Little Mermaid Ballet

This week we went along to Milton Keynes Theatre to see the lovely ballet by David Nixon OBE. Having always been in love with the story of The Little Mermaid and watching the Disney version several times a day (as a child!), I was very excited to see this grown-up adaptation of the story. Mermaids, and their earlier related form the Siren, have been a part of myth and folklore since at least the ancient Greeks, however Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tale is one of the most well known and loved stories to this day. Nixon’s ballet resembles Andersen’s fairy-tale much closer to that of Disney and as such you must prepare yourselves for the not-so-happy ending as the Little Mermaid learns that you do not always get what you want. You will be pleased to know that Marilla does have a trusty friend in the form of Dillion the seahorse.

Ballet is an artistic and delicate form of dance and lends itself perfectly to the undersea movements you would expect. The stage was lit up beautifully with a bluish, twinkling aqua-like glow and then a bright, warm sunshine glow when Marilla washes ashore. Along with the lighting and music of course, a simple stage was transformed through the use of two large arched structures to show us the underwater palace, cliffs and even the ship. The costumes were beautiful with lots of silks and sequins to show off the soft movements and specs of sunlight as you’d expect underwater. The performance overall was very charming, elegant and a delight to watch. The music was enchanting and all the dancers performed brilliantly. The other-worldly floating movements of the mermaids and the much more energetic routines of the sailors harmonised perfectly with the music and you always knew what was going on even though there is no dialogue.

Well done to all involved and thank you for bringing us a perfect adaptation of the adored fairy-tale, The Little Mermaid.

At Milton Keynes Theatre until 21st April, for tickets go to www.atgtickets.com