Recent Posts

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

REVIEW: Wish You Were Dead at the Southampton Mayflower

Peter James’s Brighton-based detective stories of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace have a common feature in their titles with the inclusion of the word “Dead” and usually very dark storylines of murder. In recent years, we have seen productions of Dead Simple (a buried alive story) and Looking Good Dead (snuff movies) and this latest UK tour is Wish you were dead, but it has a different feel. Set in France in the Chateau-sur-L’Eveque, a rather dark and foreboding house where Grace (George Rainsford) and his second wife Cleo (Katie McGlynn) have arrived for a relaxing holiday with their friend and nanny Kaitlyn (Gemma Stroyan) and her boyfriend Jack (Alex Stedman). But from the first moment, all is not as it should be, and they begin to speculate where Jack is, as he was expected to be there when they arrived. 

The dodgy electrics of the house, the lightning flashes outside, the dark walls, the huge suit of armour with a large halberd and the heavy musical interludes between scenes are all the hallmarks of a Hammer horror film and rather obvious devices to add tension and drama. Then add a French maid with an Allo Allo accent as Madame L’Eveque and Vicomte L’Eveque in a wheelchair (like Dr Scott from the Rocky Horror Show) and the drama soon dissipates into a comical parody. When Curtis appears in the second Act as a criminal mastermind from the East End out for revenge, you naturally smile at the overtop hammy characterisation but at least he ups the action, waving his shotgun widely at everyone and moving the story forward to its inevitable conclusion.

Saturday, 18 February 2023

REVIEW: Fishermen’s Friends at the Mayflower Southampton

The story of Fishermen’s Friend singers from Port Isaac in Cornwall began in 1995 but sprung to wider recognition with the release of their album in April 2010 which charted at number 9 on UK album charts and then became a charming film in 2019 with a sequel in 2022. It became a stage musical in October 2021 and after a trip to Toronto, the tour continues until 2023 May around the UK. If you are a fan of their sea shanties or looking for a feel-good night out it is worth catching the tour but don’t expect anything new or groundbreaking. It is simply a fun night out.

It is a large cast to tour with 24 performers on stage and a large grand set designed by Lucy Osbourne of the Port Isaac Harbour which is cleverly adapted for other interior scenes in the Golden Lion Pub and later In Compton Street London. At the heart of the story, and the characters that give the show an emotional connection, are three generations of a family. Maggie (played with a strong Cornish accent and a lot of charm by Susan Penhaligon) and Jago, her husband and elderly fisherman (played by Cornishman Robert Duncan) are parents to Jim who seems to act as spokesman for the band and carries the scars of his wife leaving him (a gruff James Gaddas) and grandparents to Alywyn (a strong performance from Parisa Shamir with a delightful haunting delivery of several folk ballads).
Blog Design by pipdig