Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The sunshine & prosecco edition

It's 'summer season' time at Theatre Royal Bath with another determined-to-please production: While the Sun Shines by Terence Rattigan is another WW2 farce and, as with their previous show (Coward's Present Laughter),  I found myself compelled to upwardly revise my sniffy opinion of this genre. The storyline may be absurd but it's a delight to watch, with a fabulous set creating 1940s Albany both outside & in, gorgeous costumes, sharp direction and superb cast. There are shades ~ or rather gleams ~ of Oscar Wilde and PG Wodehouse, but this hilarious parody of social mores has hidden shadows too, evoking an era of insecurity as social status totters while bombs fall and black-out nights bring war-time wildness.
In his inherited luxurious chambers, the Earl of Harpenden finds his real 'war effort' is the struggle for the lovely Lady Elizabeth (Alexandra Dowling), against the blustering charm of American Lieut Mulvaney (Rupert Young) and the cunning of Clouseau-esque French Lieut Colbert (Nicholas Bishop), with the mix confused further by tart-with-a-heart Mabel Crum (Tamla Kari), and Elizabeth's gambling father (Michael Cochrane). All are excellent, and Rob Heaps as the Earl, potentially the most facile stereotype of all, brings huge charm and subtle strength to the role. Christopher Luscombe's direction ensures brilliant timing and I came out with eyes sore from laughing.
On till the end of the month, highly recommended. (images Tristram Kenton)

Back in Frome, Tic Tac Toe is addressing another era of social values in The Scandalous Love of Oscar Wilde, a monologue analysis of the writer's attitudes and the path to his downfall. Luke Stuart superbly inhabits this role in a piece still in development, directed by Geoff Hunt and written by Calum Grant, to be shown at Merlin Theatre on August 6th. The preview was at the Cornerhouse, which also on Saturday offered the marvellous All Nighters' Northern Soul with dancing on a nostalgically-talc-scattered floor until late.
More live music on Sunday from flaminco guitarist Joe Taylor at the Archangel in the afternoon, here with his other guitar in singer-songwriter role.
And I'm ending this celebration of drama and music on a personal note: thankyou to everyone who sent birthday messages, and to those special friends who made sure I had prosecco as well as sunshine to complete a perfect day...

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