I have seen some brilliant performances this week.
First up I saw Propeller's production of Richard III. Full of dark humour and with just the right levels of violence and disturbing imagery to draw you in without repelling you. The staging involved lots of medical imagery, with rubber curtains, the chorus dressed as orderlies and masked. There was also more blatant serial killer accoutrements, saws, hooks and a chainsaw. This is the play with the murderous villain that orders the murders of friends, relations and children alike and yet you are on his side and that and his machinations come across brilliantly. This was a powerful version of one of my favourite plays and if you can catch it at another point in the tour I suggest that you do.
I am running sound for ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ next week so to get a feel for the timings and so the cast could hear the sound effects before we got into the theatre I went along to the last rehearsal. I am really rather glad I did. It turned out that rather than ensure the cast won’t be surprised by the sound effects, it means that hopefully I have got the “dyeing with laughter” out of the way by the time we get to the run. Those of you familiar with The Company and its wily ways will know that there are a lot of those that can be described as “fine character actors with a hint of ham” and this is a show that highlights those talents. It is really bloody funny.
‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ is on Wednesday to Saturday next week and you can buy tickets at The Company’s website.
Talking of bloody funny, thanks to bumping into an alumnus of The Company in Crucible Corner who was talking with current members of Propeller and Sheffield Theatre’s companies I had the opportunity to go and see the matinee of The Comedy of Errors (thanks guys). It was an interesting experience given that it has a common cast with Richard III. Obviously the tone was much lighter, this time those members of the cast not currently to the fore were in shade and sombreros and there were a lot of panto touches such as musical stings costume comedy and of course with the all male cast dames. What was really striking was that during the interval (of the first performance of two in a day) the cast were in the bar busking as a mariachi band to raise money for Save the Children. You may only be able to see one show when Propeller hit town, but if you can fit them both I’d recommend you do.