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Sunday, 9 February 2020

REVIEW: Time and Tide at the Park Theatre

"Time and Tide wait for no man" is a quote from a Geoffrey Chaucer tale, meaning that people can't stop the passing of time and should not delay doing things. It is a perfect title for this charming exquisitely written play which explores with a gentle humorous caring touch the lives of four people stuck in their daily lives in a cafe on Cromer pier in Norfolk. They bottle up their emotions and true feelings as they go about their usual routines until one of them decides to leave for college in London. James McDermott, the author, draws heavily on his own experience in a Norfolk cafe and the conversations he overheard as he started his career as a writer after university. The result is the creation of four totally believable, emotionally engaging and brilliantly crafted characters and a simple plot dynamic that touchingly explores and reveals their true feelings and motivations. It is an extraordinarily good piece of writing.

The excellent cast of four rise to the challenge of bringing it to the intimate Park 90 stage with great skill. Director Rob Ellis ensures the action is carefully paced, taking its time to establish the characters and then explodes into moments of wonderful theatre as the true feelings spill out over the Cafe Floor. 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

REVIEW: We're Staying Right Here at the Park Theatre

Suicide by men under 50 as a result of mental health issues is becoming a new cause celebre but rarely does a play pack such a powerful emotional punch as this debut play by Henry Devas. We're staying right here takes us into the boarded up flat and confused mind of a depressed comedian who has never recovered from the death of his father from cancer and the guilt he feels over his newly born daughter Ellie.

Jez Pike directs and has audience lurching from moments of silly comedy to high drama and tension in a roller coaster of emotions hurtling towards an uncertain ending. 

Danny Kirrane plays Matt, who we first meet on stage in a cape in his stand up routine before he is overwhelmed by an explosion of despair that forces him to barricade himself into his own flat in a battle for his future.

Monday, 23 October 2017

REVIEW: Fishskin Trousers at Park 90

The premise for Fishskin Trousers is intriguing. The mysterious setting of Orford Ness, a remote island off the Suffolk coast full of ancient myths and coastal sounds . The simple stage setting transports us straight away to the beach with rocks , pebbles and modern debris washed ashore. The light reflecting off the water and the sounds of gulls and gentle mewing from the sea sets the scene perfectly.

Into this space walk three seemingly disconnected characters, separated by time and backgrounds and we begin to be drawn into the mysteries and tragedies of Orford Ness and to puzzle over their connections. Elizabeth Kuti has created three interesting characters each with a tragic backstory . The problem is that the exploration of their stories is presented as a series of static monologues directed at the audience either seated or standing while the other two characters hold their frozen poses. Except for one knowing glance, there is no interaction between the characters or response to the stories. We are therefore left to focus on the words and delivery of each monologue .Quite simply this is not enough to hold our interest for the ninety minutes running time.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

REVIEW: Hamlet at the Park 90

Gyles Brandreth has clearly had a lifelong passion for Shakespeare’s Hamlet and writes as he often does with passion and eloquence in the free programme for this production. It is a family affair with his own son playing Hamlet and his daughter in law playing Gertrude and Ophelia. He challenges the audience in his notes to think about their own family. Cut down from the original play into a continuous 90 minutes the editor, Imogen Bond and directors Simon Evans and David Aula, focus Hamlet’s loss of his parents.

Hamlet is Shakespeare longest play, at over 4000 lines and the edit removes all the characters with less than 100 lines and the Scandinavian political intrigue to fit within the 90 minute running time, the result is a fast paced family drama that explores the relationships between parents and their children. It is of course given an extra poignancy by the casting of three actors from same family.
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