Sunday, June 22, 2008

"The Shoemaker's Wonderful Wife" - June 2008

As readers may know, during the 'regular' "A Play, A Pie & A Pint" season at Oran Mor I made the effort to see the shows that caught my interest on a Wednesday - a) it's half price, and b) it gives anyone reading our thoughts on the show a chance to see it for themselves. But with these "Corona Classic Cuts" we've been seeing them on a Saturday as Waldorf has been keen to make it along - which rules out midweek trips. So, I feel the need to apologise at the start of this post - because as with last week's 'King Lear', I'm about to tell you that this was an absolute cracker of a show - and that it has now finished its run. Sorry.

Roxana Silbert has done a great job of adapting Frederico Garcia Lorca's original in a manner that amuses while remaining acutely observational. It has much to say about the value of reputation and also about our failure to appreciate what we have. But the text is only part of the story here - there's so much more. Rosie Kellagher's direction brings a very poetic and balletic feel to it - particularly with the enhancement of on stage percussion. At times it feels like a marvelously musicless musical.

We have three incredibly strong performances from Callum Cuthbertson, Sarah McCardie and Keith Fleming (fresh from his CATS Awards success). Cuthbertson is wonderfully downcast as the Shoemaker but later sparks to life as 'the Puppetmaster' while McCardie swings beautifully and believably between outrageous flirt and screaming harpie. Lumbered with playing "Everyone Else", Fleming pulls it off magnificently - particularly as the grotesque mayor and the young boy, although his Pythonesque female roles were also a joy.

While consistently funny it isn't all laughs and includes some genuinely touching moments. This was a brilliant piece of high-energy madcap theatre and I defy anyone to have left the performance without a smile on their face.

Next week sees the last of the Corona Classic Cuts at Oran Mor - "Anthony & Cleopatra"
Image by Leslie Black used with permission