Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet" / "Lysistrata" - June 2007

This was a double bill of one act plays performed by students from the GCNS Acting course who we had seen previously performing "Teechers". In front of an audience largely of family and friends they were on fairly safe ground, but as objective outsiders how impressed would we be? Once more our standard reviewing policy applies for these student productions - comments will be based on the same standards as expected of a professional production.

Before getting to the reviews - well done for the spoken instruction before commencing that everyone should check their mobile phones were turned off. We also noticed that latecomers were only admitted at a suitable break in the show. Other theatres should take note!

"The Shewing Up Of Blanco Posnet"
This short play by George Bernard Shaw appeared to have been left largely intact for this production. Its story of an alleged horsethief and his attempts to avoid the noose at the hands of the townsfolk was well told with Scott Fletcher putting in an impressive performance in the title role. We're a little unclear on who performed some of the other roles as they were dual cast, so we'll refer to them by character (for the record we saw Wednesday night's performance). "Feemy" was played particularly well as was the Sheriff apart from an incorrect line but I'm not sure the cross gender casting of some roles really worked other than for a couple of cheap laughs. The chorus of women was at times a little too shouty/screechy and some dialogue was lost, but Heather Roberts played her part in a more restrained natural style and was much the better for it.

The "hoe down" segment was similar to one we had seen recently in "The Winters Tale" but while there it was a surprising piece of fun, here it seemed to be included without real reason and was definitely overlong.

In general the acting of the wider cast was of a good standard and they definitely played to the audience. As a whole the performance was enjoyable enough with Fletcher's performance the highlight, but I suspect it may have struggled a little in front of a more objective audience.

This was based on the tale by Aristophanes but with a modern and localised adaptation by Director Deborah Carmichael who deserves great credit for the success of the performance. This really was "Monty Python does Greek mythology" with more than a touch of "Carry On..." with strong innuendo but was undeniably wonderful. Agnieszka Bresler gave a strong performance as "Lysistrata" as she tried to end a war by persuading the womenfolk to withhold their favours from their husbands until a peace treaty was signed. In early scenes Laura McLaughlin looked set to steal the show in her WAG role of "Kalonike" but as Laura Szalecki came to the fore later as "Myrrhine" it became clear that what we had was a very strong ensemble cast. Both the set of Old Men and Old Crows worked well for the most part and had their moments to shine while there were nice touches involving the Constables and later the Herald and Ambassador. David McNay as the Magistrate produced a wonderful performance that was a joy to watch - if he can sing he was born to play Frank'n'Furter in "Rocky Horror" and I want to be there when he does.

As the show nears it's conclusion we have a dance set piece which left the audience grinning and later the full cast burst into John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance". It was a wonderful and powerful moment of theatre which literally left my spine tingling - every bit as much as it did during "Black Watch". This is very rare for me and is a real indication about how good this performance was - I have no doubt this show would have gone down well with a completely objective audience.

I'm not sure if these students are now finished, but if so good luck to them all, and we hope to see them in future productions.

4 Heckles

Anonymous said...

Hi there, thanks very much for your comments it is well appreciated. For the record I played Feemy Evans and I'm glad you liked it.

Jamielee McPherson

Anonymous said...

I was also lucky enough to catch Wednesday night's performances. Outstanding performances from Scott Fletcher, Jamielee McPherson and David McNay - a real joy to watch!

Anonymous said...

Hey there, thankyou very much for coming to watch the HNC performances-it is nice to have an outsiders opinion rather than all family and friends. Very much appreciated and we hope to have another great review in the near future!
Laura S - 'Myrrhine' (lysistrata)

Anonymous said...

Was fortunate to catch Fridays performance of both shows,well portrayed and some special performances by Scot Fletcher as lead,and Stephanie Semple as Feemy.Good luck in the future.