Bath Voice Reviews

The Sweet Science of Bruising: Anna Lamb spars with Francesca McBride as Violet Hunter

Bath Voice Theatre Review: a quartet of female actors punch above their weight in a five star production of Joy Wilkinson’s story of Victorian women boxers at the Mission Theatre

When the boxer Nicola Adams stepped into the ring to fight Ren Cancan for Olympic Gold in 2012 they did so as athletes. No make-up, blow-dried hair or sexy outfits – but simply as the best physical version of themselves in the ultimate female boxing competition. A contest not for the sexual gratification of men but as part of the Olympic Games to be cheered on by boxing enthusiasts around the world.

It has taken decades if not centuries for women in this country to gain equality in law, sports, voting rights, pay and employment – all pioneered from figures such as Mary Wolfstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women to the Suffragettes and the likes of Billy Jean King beating Bobby Riggs in the ‘battle of the sexes’, tennis match in 1973.

In Joy Wilkinson’s play The Sweet Science of Bruising at the Mission Theatre in Bath we are taken back to the turn of the 19th century in a Victorian England where women were beginning to assert their voices in society. And yet they were still largely controlled by men. Step forward showman Professor Charlie Sharp played with a fabulously theatricality by Bob Constantine who stages boxing matches and other entertainments for money. He stumbles upon Polly Stokes through her brother the boxer Paul Stokes and the idea of a female boxing contest is born. Tianna James as Polly is superb as the aspiring athlete as she spars, jabs and punches with total commitment. In contrast Callum Marshall as her brother convinces as the nearly man – who is overshadowed by his sibling – straight roles are always harder to pull off and he also achieves this again as he doubles as Captain Danby.

Bob Constantine enjoyed himself as the showman Professor Charlie Sharp

Another actor playing it straight is Alistair Davey who doubles up as several characters with the impossibly prejudiced and demanding Doctor Forster as being particularly memorable. And completing the unreconstructed Victorian gents is the husband of Anna Lamb played by Harry Mason whose eventual comeuppance was enthusiastically cheered on by the audience. That suggested he had successfully become a hate figure for his despicable behaviour towards Anna – much better than a standing ovation.

Two supporting female roles were Aunt George played by an on-form Sara Keane and the maid played by the appropriately subservient Antonia White. That leaves the quartet of female boxers who constrained by their corsets and controlled by men finish the drama in a rousing corset less finale. Tiana James as Polly was brilliant, Francesca McBride as Violet Hunter was exceptional – and has the added natural ingredient of a slight catch of emotion in her voice which helps convince with her speeches. Anna Lamb was played by Olivia Stiles who rather enjoyed repaying her husband’s bad behaviour with her fists and Matty was given another exceptional performance by the talented Ellie Turner. A cast of all the talents worthy of any professional stage.

A quartet of women boxers in Victorian England heralded the equality in the next century

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of Joy Wilkinson’s 2018 drama staged in a traverse setting at the Mission Theatre was Brian Hudd’s direction. He managed to combine the genteel discussions with the extreme physicality required to convince the audience of boxing’s innate violence. Hudd had a good team with fight choreographer Nicky Wilkins essential in making the boxing look and sound real. Chayenne Rogers-Dixon’s videography and imagery projected onto the back wall of the stage added much period detail and atmosphere while the set was minimal allowing for the action to be unrestrained. My only thought was that some form of carpet of covering on the boards would have helped to dampen the constant footsteps of the entrances and exits – although a minor point in a production that was a five star triumph for the Next Stage Theatre Company.

All women and girls should see this play or read the original novel as it highlights the inequalities of the past but also heralds the breakthroughs that were to come with Votes for Women and Barbara Castle’s 1970 Equal Pay Act to the day Nicola Adams could step into a boxing ring, not wearing a corset, but as an athlete ready to perform as a professional boxer.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to Saturday 2nd July, nightly at 7.30pm.

Details and tickets at http://www.missiontheatre.co.uk/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
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The Recruiting Officer: Captain Brazen and Captain Plume about to cross swords

Bath Voice Theatre Review: From the first performance of a play in Australia to Laurence Olivier in  the NT’s ‘63 production, George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer still packs them in – even in a field in Somerset

Theatre Review: The Recruiting Officer. School Fields, Badgworth, Somerset

Convicts in Australia regained their self-esteem by acting in George Farquhar’s play about sex, Shrewsbury and soldiers, when the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, as The Recruiting Officer is a window into the cynical and nakedly humorous motives of men and women in search of love, status and money.

First produced in 1706 the Restoration Comedy is the story of officers using the recruitment of new soldiers as a chance for womanising and corruption. And the women they are after are just as wily as the uniformed protagonists. The drama hinges on misunderstandings, cross-dressing and cynical attempts to get rich through marriage with true love triumphing in the end.

Rose with her basket of chicken in The Recruiting Officer

Rain and Shine’s production mixes high comedy with Anthony Young enjoying himself as Melinda’s comically opportunist maid and the wonderfully foppish Rob Keeves as Captain Brazen with authentic power dressing costumes and military accessories.

With just seven in the cast director Jonathan Legg made good use of the entrances and exits, and 18th century outfits and wigs to define the stock characters. Emily Morozow was excellent value as the rich heiress Melinda and was equally committed to playing the haughty wench Rose, managing to inject a spicy venom into her character’s lines and body language.

Left: Anthony Young as an unlikely maid

Ian Alldis as the towering NCO Sergeant Kite barked his orders with military grade decibels while the versatile John Cooper-Evans played three roles as Thomas Appletree, Mr Worthy and Valentine Steward, defining each part with clarity.

Pippa Meekings had the most fun as the heroine Sylvia Balance who is enthralled with the handsome Captain Plume played by the dashingly good-looking Ashley Shiers by donning a moustache and breeches and returning as Jack Wilful. A handsome couple indeed.

Recruiting under way

Written more than a century after Shakespeare’s heyday The Recruiting Officer has remained a popular comedy despite the two-dimensional characters and complex plotting. It’s core theme of seeking a better life through hitching up with someone of a higher status due to their wealth and good looks is as universal as the competing contestants in ITV’s Love Island or Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle.

Pippa Meekings as Sylvia

The public’s appetite for handsome men in uniform, glamorous women, class, romantic rivalry and love triangles remains as strong today in Badgworth’s School Gardens as it did in the National Theatre’s 1963 production with Laurence Olivier as Brazen and in Botany Bay in 1787 when the transported convicts re-discovered their humanity in performing theatre.

Harry Mottram

The play is on tour until September in outdoor venues across England this summer with dates near to Bath in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. For a full list, tickets and information visit http://www.rainorshine.co.uk/index.html

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

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Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society performing Crazy For You. Photo credit: Ken Abbott

Bath Voice Theatre Reviews: after a two-year absence due to the Covid crisis the Theatre Royal audience goes crazy for the Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society’s latest production

At last: chorus girls, cowboys, tap dancing and some big song and dance routines in a show to lift the spirits.  The Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society returned triumphantly to the Theatre Royal Bath after a two-year Covid related absence with George and Ira Gershwin’s big song and dance show Crazy for You.

Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker in Crazy For You

A near full house lapped up classic numbers like I Got Rhythm, K-ra-zy For You, Nice Work If You Can Get It and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, in a foot tapping finger clicking production based on a 1930s show put together in the early 1990s on Broadway. Directed by Steve Blackmore, choreographed by Annette Wilsher and music direction by Peter Blackwood this is a production that does justice to the smash hit musical revival. Crazy For You has an impressive set, superb lighting and sound plus authentic costumes including fabulous chorus girl outfits and enough feathers to clothe several birds of paradise and it’s a show that sends the audience home with a song in their heart. I can vouch for that as several people were humming I Got Rhythm as I crossed Saw Close after the show.

Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society performing Crazy For You. Photo credit: Ken Abbott

Arnie Richardson as protagonist Bobby Child, the banker who wants to be a stage star held the key role with aplomb, strong vocals, unbounded energy and a winning personality. He was ably supported by an exceptional Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker his love interest in Deadrock. She has the voice and personality required to knock ‘em dead – and a huge role to carry through the two-hour long show.

The story follows the fortunes of Bobby who is sent to foreclose on a theatre in the far west – only to see it as a chance to revive the establishment with a hit show. And the rest is as you might expect as the story is one of mistaken identities, unlikely romances and above all song and dance that whirls the narrative from a lively start to a rousing finale – all laced with knockabout humour.

Crazy For You – Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker and Arnie Richardson as Bobby Child – BODS at TRB – Credit Ken Abbott

Annabel Latham as Irene Roth was great value in her pursuit of wedding bells finally settling for Pip Knowles who enjoyed himself as Lank Hawkins and Grant McCotter as impresario Bela Zangler was also on top form. So many strong performances such as Jane Morgan as Tess, Chris Born and Julia Padfield as the travel writers checking out Deadrock’s attractions, and Huw Morgan as Everett Baker the town’s saloon keeper keen to take over the theatre for himself.

Crazy For You – Arnie Richardson as Bobby Child – BODS at TRB – Credit Ken Abbott

Eye catching Dave Key-Pugh’s hillbilly-esque Moose gave another big performance as did Lottie Child played by Barbara Ingeldew, with support from Finn Cunningham-Tickel as Mingo (and understudy for the lead) and Ashley Viner as Sam.

Crazy For You – Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker – BODS at TRB – Credit Ken Abbott

Crazy For You is essentially a revival of the spirit of those big Ziegfeld Follies productions of the 1920s and 1930s with their cast of chorus girls known as the Follies – and this production delivers those deftly choreographed sequences brilliantly using the wide stage to great effect. With several changes of costumes, great dancing and strong stage presence these big song and dance numbers make this show so memorable. The Follies are complemented by the Cowboys in Deadrock whose humour and languid body language is transformed at the mention of girls into over excited teenage boys desperate to touch a certain part of the female anatomy. An ensemble cast also included an eight strong Ensemble to complete the show and give Bath a much-needed shot of glamour, romance, comedy and showbiz. Yes, one to lift the spirits.

Harry Mottram

The show runs from 3-7 May, 2022

Tickets and info at https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/crazy-for-you/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-mottram-a3613920/detail/recent-activity/
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From left: Mr Darcy, Mrs Bennet and George Knightley at the Jane Austen Centre

BATH VOICE: Georgian Bath was smelly, dangerous and dirty – so unlike the friendly characters in the Jane Austen Centre

By Harry Mottram: Like many people I’ve passed the Jane Austen Centre many times without having visited.
Since I’m midway through the Jane Austen novel Northanger Abbey I decided to pop in one wet March afternoon to see if I could meet the great author.
Sadly the writer of a string of classic novels had a day off but I did catch up with Jackie Herring who is Mrs Bennet to the visitors.
“Catherine Moreland in Northanger Abbey would have noticed that the traffic today is just as bad as it was in her day,” she said, “but the centre of Bath was also like a building site in Jane Austen’s time with speculative building go up everywhere.
“It would also have been very dirty and dangerous with animals making a mess. That was one of the reasons why sedan chairs were used so the well heeled wealthy didn’t have to put their feet down in the muck or allow their dresses to pick up mud.”
The former director of the Jane Austen Festival spends one day a week with her work husband Mr Bennet at the centre following retirement and clearly enjoys her role as the sufferer of palpitations and agent for her daughters’ marriage prospects.
Another character who enjoys welcoming visitors – this time from the novel Emma – was my tour guide George Knightley (Martin Williamson in real life).
His talk on the Austen family and the various relatives is worth the ticket money alone which for someone of my advanced age is £11.50.
I mentioned I was reading Northanger Abbey.
“It was a send up of popular Gothic novels,” he exclaimed, “although it was written in 1803 it was published after Jane’s death in 1817.”
Following his talk I took in the huge amount of information available as videos, exhibits, paintings and prints, ending up via the tea rooms in the gift shop.
But not before meeting Fitzwilliam Darcy who it is fair to say, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good looks and a good job at the Jane Austen Centre, must be in want of a wife.

The play is on tour until April – see https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/an-hour-and-a-half-late

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-mottram-a3613920/detail/recent-activity/
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Bath Voice Theatre Review: Four Minutes and Twelve Seconds, Burdall’s Yard, Bath

There was a moment when I feared David was going to bring down from the loft some candid photographs of his wife Di from a romantic – sorry – saucy seventies type weekend – when he and his wife Di were young. Thankfully it didn’t happen but things turned rather darker in this family drama.

James Fritz’s play Four Minutes and Twelve Seconds is about how a disputed sexual assault of Cara by David and Di’s son Jack (who never appears on stage) affects the families of those involved. And how the victim remains the victim despite all the excruciating behaviour of those in the know who should know better in how to deal with the violent rape.

Bath’s Next Stage Theatre’s first production at Burdell’s Yard on the London Road is a theatrical success as they tackled Fritz’s household drama in which lies, blame and misguided parental motives produce conflicting emotions.

The four-hander featured committed Hayley Fitton-Cook as conflicted and protective mum Di. She was excellent value as she battled with in-denial husband David in his Chelsea shirt played with passion by Richard Matthews. His set piece speeches were some of the play’s highlights as were the acting of the younger cast members. Fin Hancorn as Nick – a friend of Cara and Jack – was very strong in his pub scene and was well cast by the director Ann Ellison – and Becca Jeffries as Cara was the believable victim in all of this. Damaged, angry, innocent and as so often in rape cases lacking any justice she conveyed everything a victim feels. Brilliant.

We discover dads enjoy sharing saucy photos and videos in forums run by fans of Chelsea football fans when I thought they talked about soccer, and we enter the twilight world of porn sites viewed late at night by adults. It’s a very 21st century play with very 21st century vices. But it’s also about how parents in their different ways protect their children – however misguided.

The acting by the cast was the production’s strength as the set was the bare basics in the arched stone portals of Burdall’s Yard featuring just a few chairs and a table. Brian Howe’s sound implied a backdrop of emails, messages and social media updates which combined evocatively with Kris Nuttal’s lighting that dimmed and lightened the stage well with swift changes of pace as the story unfolded. And it should be added with a play at 95 minutes straight through with no interval this was a master class of actors on top of their lines in a series of scenes that often had similar language.

As the first ever drama to be staged in the one-time night club and latter-day college resource centre Burdall’s Yard has entered a new era. And with this production the venue has essentially been Christened – and so raise a glass to Bath’s newest venue – but perhaps not to the way adults behave in Four Minutes and Twelve Seconds.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to Saturday, 12th March.

Tickets and info at https://missiontheatre.squarespace.com/burdalls-yard

The play is on tour until April – see https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/an-hour-and-a-half-late

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-mottram-a3613920/detail/recent-activity/
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BATH VOICE THEATRE REVIEW: irritating rich baby boomers or a universal story of a relationship gone stale – Belinda Lang gets the most out of Griff Rhys Jones and Janie Dee in An Hour and a Half Late

An Hour and a Half Late. Review. Theatre Royal Bath

Set in real time An Hour and a Half Late is 90 minutes of a couple having a go at each other in what is essentially a universal story of a relationship that has almost run its course.

Laura (Janie Dee) is a spoilt bored wealthy middle class house wife who doesn’t want to go to a dinner party with her husband Peter’s business partner and so throws a tantrum about her empty life. The kids have left home, the couple have everything anyone on the point of retirement can want and she is bored and irritated with Peter (Griff Rhys Jones).

 Belinda Lang’s adaption of Gerald Sibleyras’ marital bust up is fast, funny and brilliantly acted although Rhys Jones’ best lines are set up by former dancer Dee. She wants to talk – or rather tell Peter how unsatisfied she is with her empty nest syndrome and directionless life. He on the other hand wants to embrace nearing retirement and the riches it will bring after the sale of his business.

Whether the play will chime with twenty somethings I rather doubt. The duo come across as a couple of wealth baby boomers who have everything and yet seem empty of any soul or interest. That said the cast of two spark off each like a real married couple and make the most of every line in the lavish living room set.

The audience seemed exclusively made up of the same generation (me included) so in some ways the play could be seen as holding a mirror up to all us boomers. Should we laugh or cry at the state of our own lives and how they have panned out like Peter and Laura? Or quietly make our way home in the knowledge that we don’t have to go through the pain of a marital bust up and end up an hour and a half late?

Harry Mottram

The play runs to February 26th, 2022.

Tickets and info at https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/an-hour-and-a-half-late/

The play is on tour until April – see https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/an-hour-and-a-half-late

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-mottram-a3613920/detail/recent-activity/
Instagram Freelance: https://www.instagram.com/harryfreelance/

PLUS Facebook Bath: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015114436446
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Scenes from Arrivals and Departures at the Mission Theatre in Bath

Bath Voice Theatre Review: Alan Ayckbourn’s multi-layered bitter-sweet Arrivals and Departures takes aim at contemporary Britain in an exceptional production at the Mission Theatre

Officialdom, patriarchy, state security, greed, rape, infidelity, betrayal, snobbery – you name it and in Alan Ayckbourn’s Arrivals and Departures the playwright takes aim at all the negative aspects of today’s society but also shining a light on friendship and self-affirmation. To paraphrase guileless protagonist Barry: if you think the best of people, you might be disappointed, but if you think the worst, you’ll be miserable.

Using two central characters in fractured Ez and cheery Barry – who are thrown together on a disused railway platform as part of a security operation – the drama unfolds in a series of flashbacks as we discover why the unlikely duo are the characters they are.

Using a traverse stage as the railway platform (which lends the play its title in one sense) the Next Stage Theatre Company’s ensemble cast appeared as distraught parents, bickering families, bungling security personnel and as Ez and Barry’s younger selves.

Scenes from Arrivals and Departures at the Mission Theatre in Bath

An excellent and slightly formidable Francesca McBride as downcast soldier Ez dominated the setting with her hard to like glum persona which slowly melts as chatty Barry begins to lighten her mood. Andrew Ellison as the cheery Yorkshireman was exceptional value in the night and day contrast of the two characters.

Supported by the wonderfully pompous Major Quentin Sexton (Brian Hudd) who set up the comically incompetent security scenario and aided by a brilliant Miranda Webb as the young Ez (Esme) and Mike Stevens as wet-behind-the-ears as young Barry the drama fell into two halves that mirrored each other. The first being Ez’s back story and the second act the life of Barry. Complicating matters but adding the laughs were the cast of military bods pretending to be normal people at the station. Tiana James and Dave Shaw as students, Christine Saunders as a non-English speaking tourist, and Alistair J Davey as the comically unsuspecting suspect to name but a few.

There were tantalising glimpses of Ez’s and Barry’s past very English lives which director Ann Ellison fleshed out in the flashbacks or mini scenes set outside schools, inside hospitals and even a motorway service station – achieved with a dip in lighting. Costumes (Christine Anderson) also helped to paint pictures of those in the lives of Barry and Ez – something that can be taken for granted – but the right school uniform, the period suit or mumsy dress quickly establishes visually a character who may only appear for a few moments.

The strength of the production was the acting which was worthy of any stage. Brian Fisher, Kay Francksen, Alex Hawkins and Ellie Turner completed an exceptional cast in Ayckbourn’s dark satire that perhaps took aim at too many targets when the life stories of Ez and Barry would have sufficed. But then Ayckbourn’s restlessness as a creative writer would never be satisfied with the conventional. Perhaps the railway platform could have done with more litter, leaves and the odd suitcase but the simple layout kept the comings and goings and indeed the arrivals and departures going at a pace that kept the audience’s attention throughout in this exceptional production.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to January 29th, 2022.

Details and tickets at http://www.missiontheatre.co.uk/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-mottram-a3613920/detail/recent-activity/
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Hanora Kamen as bookish sensible Jane and Doxah Dzidzor as dreamy Anthea in the play

Bath Voice Reviews: Marietta Kirkbride’s adaptation of E Nesbit’s novel Five Children and It, is an Edwardian hit all over again at the Egg Theatre

Be careful what you wish for is the theme at the core of Edwardian novelist E Nesbit’s cautionary tale: Five Children and It. Whatever wish the purple clad sand fairy grants to the children always has unexpected consequences. The children wish to fly but become stuck on a church tower, they are granted gold coins which sees them accused of theft and the youngest child becomes a monstrous baby when they accidently ask for Lamb to grow up.

Bucket Club Theatre’s production of the classic children’s novel is a five star hit in the cosy confines of the Egg Theatre in Bath. Director Nel Crouch created a believable children’s world of wonderment as the five (well four really as baby Lamb is safely confined to a pram for much of the play) as they squabble and argue over what wishes they should ask for from the Psammead or sand fairy.

Craig Edwards as the sand fairy

Set against a stage of sweeping white curtains, stable doors and a balcony complete with ladders, Rebecca Wood’s design allowed for maximum use of the space with a piano tucked in one corner. Versatile Patrick Bridgman as Uncle Paul made use of the piano to accompany several of the songs while Craig Edwards as the desperate-for-a-holiday sand fairy made the most of his role as the instigator of dreams come true. His switch to the grumpy owner of a pony and trap as well as an irate chef were some of the highlights of the drama.

An excellent ensemble cast of Hanora Kamen as bookish sensible Jane, Hannah Bristow as naughty boy Robert and Doxah Dzidzor as dreamy Anthea were added to by understudy Peta Maurice as Cyril who seamlessly filled the roll of the stiff upper lip Edwardian brother.

The children take flight in one sequence when their wish to fly is granted

Strong production values including Jenni Jackson’s movement direction which added so much as well as lighting, sound and music made for a perfect show – and above all created a drama which engaged the very young as well as adults with its constant wit and humour.

The largely young audience seemed transfixed by the action that included song and dance, movement and mime and numerous delightful creative sequences. The pony and trap journeys, the purple flight over the world and the interjections with Uncle Paul on the farm and the lost ferret running joke all added to a complete narrative with the theme of: be careful for what you wish for. And underlying the story was the unseen subplot of the children’s absent mother who was battling the authorities for female suffrage – reflected in Edith Nesbit’s own life story.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to January 16th, 2022.

Details at https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/five-children-and-it/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
(https://twitter.com/bath_voice)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-mottram-a3613920/detail/recent-activity/
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Bath Voice Theatre Reviews: it may be cold outside but it’s a hothouse inside the Mission Theatre with the Next Stage Theatre’s production of Pinter’s lesser-known play set in an ‘institution’

Set in an unnamed institution which we presume is an old-style asylum dating from before the reforms of the 1970s and 1980s Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse is both a period piece and a morality tale.

Director Bob Constantine’s production of the play in the Mission Theatre in Bath faithfully portrays the dark comedy with chuckles rather than belly laughs. The drama is in a long line of plays and films set in institutions of one sort or another – including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, the film Shock Corridor and the 2005 movie Lunacy plus more recently Blue/Orange at Bath’s Ustinov Studio.

The story hinges on the institution’s director Roote played with enthusiasm by Brian Fisher whose power is slowly usurped by an understated Gibbs (Dominic O’Connor), boozy Lush (an excellent Richard Matthews) and the manipulative Cutts expertly played by Vanessa Bishop. The narrative is sparked off by patient 6457’s death and resident 6459 giving birth – news that blindsides Roote who slowly loses influence as the drama unfolds on a snowy Christmas Day.

With some outstanding pieces of drama such as hapless Lamb’s terrifying electroconvulsive therapy and Lush’s speech on the nature of sanity the drama showcases Next Stage’s range of talented actors. Other members of the cast include George Gent as Lobb and Dave Dunn as Tubb who as with the rest of the cast gave superbly committed performances.

Staged in the round with two levels of settings – one for an office and one for an interview area – the drama’s lighting was at times seemingly too bright for such a gloomy scene. For the interrogation scenes and moments of high drama then Kris Nuttall’s lighting came into its own concentrating the audience’s attention solely on the actors. There were period props such as a green dial up phone and an archaic heater although the costumes were contemporary in style reminding us that although set in some forgotten institution of the 1950s the themes of how power corrupts and the prospect of power corrupts completely.

It’s not hard to see why this one of Pinter’s lesser-known plays with its setting within the glum surrounds of an asylum of sorts but also the feeling it’s a period piece describing an institution that’s largely been consigned to history. Revived in 2007 at the Lyttelton Theatre and at the Trafalgar Studios in 2013 the play was written in 1958 but set aside until 1979 when Pinter finalised the script ahead of production the following year.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to December 4th, 2021.

Details at http://www.missiontheatre.co.uk/whats-on

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

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Rondo Theatre Company’s production of Terence Rattigan’s Deep Blue Sea successfully combines the gloom of post war Britain with the damaged lives of those who took part

Not so much a kitchen sink drama rather a living room theatrical in dreary depressed post war London where Hester Collier’s attempted suicide unleashes emotions in her and in the people in her life.

Andrew Fletcher’s production of Terence Rattigan’ 1952 play, The Deep Blue Sea, in Bath’s Rondo Theatre is a worthy examination of adult relationships in the 1950s middle classes, cutting through to the underlying angsts of the era.

There’s post traumatic stress, a lack of direction in lives once driven by the excitement of war and of relationships stifled by social convention, an undercurrent of repressed sexuality, let alone that suicide was still illegal. And it’s the unresolved problems in Hester’s life that lie at the heart of the play – issues that are universal and current in society today.

Artist Hester’s conflicted feelings about her lover it’s-all-about-me Freddie Page who hasn’t moved on from his Spitfire glory days of 1940 clashes with her relationship with her estranged stuffed-shirt of a husband William Collyer and latterly with her neighbour Mr Miller.

Tom Turner as Freddie enjoyed sexual chemistry with Hester (Maria Finlay) in an opening elongated snog as the two mismatched lovers spar. She: a woman in need of sexual love and he in need of an intelligent and attractive older woman who fills in the gaps in his now empty ex-RAF life.

The duo Ann and Philip Welch who discover the unconscious Hester in front of her gas fire, were played by an animated Robert Finlay and Sophie Kerr, with an excellent portrayal of landlady Mrs Elton played by Nadine Comba in support. The enigmatic Mr Miller, the non-doctor doctor with a Germanic secret from the war to hide whose empathetic feelings chime with Hester was given a slightly mysterious persona by Rob Dawson while Richard Chivers was strong support as Jackie as he tried not to knock back too much of the whisky in his unsuccessful attempts to calm down Freddie.

The Rondo’s Theatre Company had strong support from the production team with Tony Wood’s impressive set featuring Hester’s flat making the most of the space while lighting by Rob Finlay and Will Jesmond gave the appropriately gloomy atmosphere of the stifling nature of the drama. A drama where repressed British emotions finally are allowed to spill out.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to Saturday 27th November 2021

Please note: that due to a member of the audience taking ill about half-way through the play the drama was abandoned although tickets can be reassigned to later in the run. The theatre’s staff acted with professionalism during the extremely distressing emergency. This review thus covers only the first hour of the show. Tickets can be reallocated for the must-see production.

Tickets and more information visit https://rondotheatre.co.uk/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

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From left, Ebony Feare, Daniel Kofi Wealthyland and Sadi Masego

Theatre review: Josephine, Egg Theatre, Bath

There was something missing in this lively and enjoyable play about the larger than life performer Josephine Baker: her singing and dancing. It needed a big finish and some set pieces to illustrate her ability to entertain.

Sparkling Ebony Feare as Josephine, had the personality, the charisma, movement and the voice but was never given the chance to put the wow into Leona Allen’s play Josephine which only hinted at her abilities. Sadi Masego as Marie and Daniel Kofi Wealthyland provided stylish, slick and speedy support as the bickering owners of the café left to their father and Josphine’s son as they recreated Joephine’s life story.

Leona Allen’s script was inventive and perhaps almost overflowing with dates and descriptions of the many lives of Josephine from impoverished Missouri maid to USA human rights champion. At times it was almost too much to take in but the high-octane nature of the drama was in part there to symbolise Josephine’s life in the fast lane.

Josephine Baker 1906-1976

Aimed at school children the pace and complexity of the narrative is perhaps too much for very younger children but older ones and teens lapped up the irreverence and the sheer energy of the performers. And as a project for schools it’s a story that has almost everything for Black History Month – Nazis, racists, heroics, class divide and an uncompromising talent that refused to accept the racial segregation of the time.

Ebony Feare was superbly animated as she flipped through the rags to riches life of the American born but adopted Parisian singer, dancer and French resistance operative. Sadi Masego’s expressions and movement were also a joy to watch as was Daniel who worked seamlessly as the joint café owners who brought Josephine to life as her ghost disputed how she was being remembered.

Ebony Feare

The real life of Baker with her unreliable history and disputed facts, her complex love lives and numerous children and controlling personality were covered only in part. Well, there is so much to cover in a blurred life that began in poverty in America and moved to France and triumph at the Folies Bergère and to become synonymous with the Roaring Twenties and later wartime subterfuge.

Jesse Briton’s direction was perhaps too frenetic with the show zipping through to its conclusion in just 50 minutes. With a superbly designed set by Debbie Dru, evocative lighting by George Seal and appropriate music and sound by Holm Theatre’s production team this is a show that fell slightly short of its potential. Neat touches such as the bell to mark different years, the café’s furniture and various cardboard boxes piled up with props and the central red curtained entry door all created a memorable set.

So much that was excellent, and the essence of Josephine’s story was certainly conveyed, but I’m sure her ghost would have preferred a lot more singing and dancing to do her unique talents justice.

Harry Mottram

The show runs to November 8th, 2021, and continues on tour: 13/11   Falmouth University;

16/11     Theatr Brycheiniog; and 17/11 – 20/11     Wales Millennium Centre – Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru

The show is an The Egg, Wales Millennium Centre, and Oxford Playhouse’s co-production of Holm Theatre’s Josephine

To book a performance in your school and access to a term’s worth of learning via the Digital Learning Portal, contact james.moore@theatreroyal.org.uk 

Tickets and more information visit https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/blue-orange/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.
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Blue Orange – Michael Balogun (Christopher), Giles Terera (Robert), Ralph Davis (Bruce) – Credit Marc Brenner

Theatre Review: Blue/Orange, Ustinov Studio, Bath

James Dacre’s production of Joe Penhall’s black comedy drama Blue/Orange in Bath’s Ustinov Studio is tight, tense and taut, and an insight into the world of psychiatry. And an insight into the personal power struggles of three men trying to impose their thoughts on each other laced with much humour and wit.

Chris is about to be discharged from the hospital but must first be assessed by Bruce who in turn is assessed for his assessment by senior consultant Robert. Set in a square brightly lit space designed by Simon Kenny with lighting by Charles Balfour with only a few chairs, a water cooler and a coffee table with a fruit bowl and ash trays the triangular conversation keeps the audience glued. The dialogue constantly switches from character to character as each one seems to hold the high moral ground before being usurped by one of the others as their point of view appears if only briefly to hold sway.

Blue Orange – Michael Balogun (Christopher), Giles Terera (Robert), Ralph Davis (Bruce) – Credit Marc Brenner

Protagonist Chris played by a committed and seething Michael Balogen wants to go home. Or does he? As a patient diagnosed with borderline personality disorder he is in the hospital after doing ‘something funny’ in the market and apart from angry outbursts about the injustice and his bizarre claims to be the love child of Idi Amin or Mohamed Ali he’s no more nuts than the average psychiatrist. And the two professionals who bicker over whether he is well or not at times show empathy and times a ruthless desire to be right in their diagnosis scoring points off each other.

At the heart of the conflict is race and in particular why black men are more likely to be sectioned than white men. Language, poverty, life chances, heritage and what we see as ‘normal’ and how we articulate our thoughts are explored at length in at times hilarious dialogue and times with a seriousness often devoid from discussions of an issue that’s not gone away.

Blue Orange – Michael Balogun (Christopher), Giles Terera (Robert), Ralph Davis (Bruce) – Credit Marc Brenner

Robert played by a suitably anguished and manipulative Giles Terera twists and turns in his disagreement with consultant Bruce played with a wonderful arrogance by Ralph Davis in a battle of wills as to who has the right to use what language and decide if Chris is schizophrenic, psychotic or plain nuts.

Three men you’d probably not want to invite to your home for Welsh Rabbit or take them to watch rugby as Bruce did when he invited Robert to impress his mentor. But if you did you wouldn’t need to worry about a lull in the conversation. The trio rattle out their lines in a series of heated arguments which are overlaid with references to rugby, football, Alan Ginsberg, Tin Tin and the down-side of living in White City. Fast, funny and questioning about who in 21st Britain is actually sane.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to Saturday, November 13, 2021

Tickets and more information visit https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/blue-orange/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.
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Joan of Arc played by Marienella Phillips

Bath Voice theatre review: blood, betrayals and beheadings – all in a day’s work in the court of Queen Margaret

It’s Plantagenet England but not as we know it. With cigarette in hand and weekend luggage in tow Sarah Cullyer as Queen Margaret looked more like a member of a hen party about to board an Easyjet flight than the ruler of England and France. For Downpour Theatre’s production of Jenny O’Hare’s story of the monarch largely side lined in Shakespeare’s Henry plays was staged in modern dress and directed by Andy Cullyer.

Sarah Cullyer

Set in the mid-15th century at the start of the Wars of the Roses the play depicts Margaret D’Anjou’s political battles of survival in a brutal world where treachery and treason were essential additions to the CVs of the warring factions of the time. The rise and fall of the Pont-à-Mousson born aristocrat from her marriage to Henry VI as part of a peace treaty between England and France to her eventual exile is one of the lesser-known stories of the time – one which O’Hare does her best to relate in the play. With so many characters jostling for power and double-crossing the name of the game, the narrative is at times hard to follow. Indeed, having some form of subtitles or flash cards would help the audience to keep track of the comings and goings of various Earls, Lords and Cardinals.

The cast

Kate Raw as Hume was outstanding as she tried to make sense of the proceedings and hedging her bets in the civil war by wearing a white rose for York on one lapel and a red one for Lancaster on the other. Sarah Wiggins as the usurper York gave an impassioned portrayal of the soon to be executed rebel while James Locke as Henry VI had the more difficult role of the enfeebled monarch overshadowed by his strident spouse. And there was strong support from Callum Sharp as Suffolk, Mike Harley as Gloucester, Eddy Martin as Beaufort and Ester Warren as Prince Edward. Based in Thornbury in South Gloucestershire the company included Liz Kelly as York, Hannah Galliers as Warwick, Georgie Loenard as Somerset and Alice Walton who played Joan of Arc in Gloucester.

Suffolk (Calum Sharp), Somerset (Georgie Leonard), Cardinal (Eddy Martin) and Henry (James Locke)

Brooding and surly, angry and assertive, Queen Margaret has the all the time the ghost of Joan of Arc (Marinella Phillips) hovering around her interjecting with her own story of betrayal and also inspiration. As a theatrical device this was a clever piece of theatre by O’Hare as it was a chance to dial down the rhetoric for more reflective prose. At the other end of the drama’s spectrum was the Jack Cade rebellion which came perilously close to toppling the court of Queen Margaret – or should we say Henry VI since he was technically in charge.

At times confusing, at times poetic, and always Shakespearean-esque, the play was certainly gripping with knife fights, confrontations and rebellions – keeping the audience on the edge of their seats throughout. O’Hare’s script uses much of Shakespeare’s lines and melds them successfully with her own blending the ancient and modern to create a must watch for scholars of the bard’s work.

Harry Mottram

The play is at The Mission Theatre on 9th July and continues on tour in Clifton and Cirencester

Details of the play at https://www.downpourtheatrecompany.co.uk/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.


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Malaika Kegode and Jakabol in OUTLIER. Pic by Paul Blakemore

Outlier: lively, loud and over long – a grungy story of drug abuse that destroys young lives

With a stage draped with oriental rugs, party lanterns hanging above, and a cosy Central Perk Café feel to Rebecca Wood’s set, Malaika Kegode’s Outlier couldn’t have been further from its inappropriate boho setting. A bleak and gritty coming of age morality tale with the message that drugs screw you up and kill you was at the heart of her personal story.

Set in Devon Malaika takes the audience through her journey from geeky teen to redemptive adult as she flits from party to crack house and from abusive relationship to drug induced death in a universal story of unfulfilled young lives. Her glib teenage cliché ridden put downs of Devon towns and people add to the hormonal driven anger at an adult world we are all at one time are on the cusp of and cannot yet control. No matter how loyal she remained to her lover Oscar, her friend Lewis and a circle of friends it was hard to find sympathy with a group of teens who cared nothing for their communities and families but to find oblivion in a bottle, powder or a pill.

Malaike Kegode and Jakabol in OUTLIER – IMAGES PAUL BLAKEMORE

Living up to its billing of gig-theatre the Bristol band Jakobol supported Malaika’s prose poetry with a series of heavy rock instrumentals and more evocative and spiritual pieces using the harp played beautifully by Emma Broughton. Joe Williams on guitar, Marietta Kirkbride on violin and Owen Gatley on drums completed the musical ensemble – although the musicians all briefly gave voice to Malaika’s friends.

Excellent lighting by Joe Price and animation by Christopher Harrison lifted the production in the Bristol Old Vic’s main house that had been rearranged to allow Malaika to step down into part of the pit cleared of seating in a covid secure setting.

Directed by Jenny Davies this was a lively, loud and rather over long production that lacked a more nuanced narrative thread, with too much musical padding and tiresome rock guitar riffs. The one thing missing was a vocalist to bring some of Malaika’s words to life and to add variety to what at times felt monotonous for a two-hour long show.

OUTLIER. Photo PAUL BLAKEMORE

Gig-theatre by its nature requires audiences to be up for a show – and many in the theatre were clearly fans of the poet and band – responding loudly to her asides and the music. At once artificial but also adding something of the atmosphere of a live concert – but without the concert.

Her strongest sequences of confessional story telling came as she described the death and funeral of friends, and her engaging jokey introduction to the evening. And there was humour within the bleak story as Malaika described the joy of shopping in Wilkos (Wilkinson) with its cheap household goods and also of her own back problems caused by turning around in rehearsals.

A more condensed production in an intimate venue and appropriately grungy set would better do justice to Malaika’s words and would be ideal to tour six-forms and colleges with its strong messages about addiction. At times moving, at times beautifully descriptive, at times funny, but as a piece of theatre it needed a tighter structure to keep a wider audience enthralled.

Harry Mottram

The play runs to Saturday, 26th June, 2021.

Details of the play at https://bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/outlier

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

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The female cast of The Memory of Water at The Mission Theatre

Bath Voice Theatre Review: a spirited production of Shelagh Stephenson’s bitter-sweet drama The Memory of Water at The Mission Theatre

Review: The Memory of Water

Bath Voice Theatre Review: a spirited production of Shelagh Stephenson’s bitter sweet drama The Memory of Water at The Mission Theatre

All memories are false except for mine – your memories are wrong. So runs one of the themes in Shelaph Stephenson’s 1996 comedy The Memory of Water. A trio of sisters go through the belongings of their dead mother Vi ahead of her funeral prompting conflicting bitter-sweet memories of their collective and individual pasts.

Directed by Ann Ellison in the round at Bath’s Mission Theatre the Next Stage company’s production is a spirited and evocative interpretation of the play first performed at the Hampstead Theatre and subsequently adapted for the screen as the movie Before You Go in 2002.

Mary is confronted by Teresa

Vi reappears periodically under a ghostly light to haunt and taunt middle daughter Mary, the brains of the family and now a doctor, revealing her troubled teenage years. As the sisters Mary, Teresa and Catherine rummage through their mother’s vanity cases, cupboards, clothing and dressing table so the secrets emerge and bickering begins. Who really does accurately remember the past or do we simply recall events to fit our own view of ourselves and those around us? To complicate matters Mary’s married TV Doctor lover Mike appears chilled to the bone through a window and Teresa’s discontented husband Frank arrives equally frozen from a long train journey as the snow falls outside Vi’s pokey flat.

Ever present (unlike Catherine’s Spanish boyfriend who never appears) is Vi played with a sneering haughtiness by Jane Lawson who seems intent on doing down her daughters from beyond the grave.

Mary takes to the bottle

Richard Matthews as testosterone-fuelled Mike injected tension and passion into his confrontations with a defensive Mary (Hayley Fitton-Cook) with some brilliant moments of home truths as she reveals she’s pregnant. And it’s their final scene where Hayley Fitton-Cook is at her best as she comes to terms with her past and her present with Mike and herself.

With her pink skirt and animal print top Georgi Bassil is every inch the angst filled youngest sister Catherine with her shopping bags and penchant for booze and joints. She does justice to her ‘I went to this counsellor’ monologue delightfully revealing she’s slept with 78 men – it’s the female friends she has a problem with she claims. Lively, attention seeking and with a character that is so see-through we can all relate to this was a highly enjoyable portrayal of the me-me-me sibling.

Mary and Mike get serious

Perhaps the hardest role was that of the middle sister Teresa played with a suitable resentment by Liz Wilson who tries to keep it all together aided by her herbal remedies and martyr complex. She’s not helped by ranting husband Frank (played with understated anger by Robert Edwards) who is intent on undoing everything she stands for. The duo represent so many middle aged married couples whose relationship has run its course with the aftermath of Vi’s death bringing their problems to the surface.

This is a gripping and enjoyable production with the socially distanced audience close to the action with the feeling that you are in the room as the bickering breaks out into blazing rows over who’s memory is true or false.

Harry Mottram

The play runs from Tuesday 25th-Thursday 27th May and Monday 7th – Wednesday 9th June.

Details at http://www.missiontheatre.co.uk/whats-on/2020/11/9/the-memory-of-water

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.