Saturday 25th February 2017 and another show at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay. This time a play ‘Pride and Prejudice’ from the pen of author Jane Austen. This is another new experience for me, I have not watched many plays live on stage, so I’m not sure what to expect from today’s performance.
So onto tonight’s show, and yet again what a fabulous play. All of the cast were just brilliant, with magnificent performances from Tafline Steen as Elizabeth Bennet, Felicity Montagu as mrs Bennet, Benjamin Dilloway as Mr Darcy, Matthew Kelly as Mr Bennet and Steven Meo as the hilariously funny Mr Collins. I was also very impressed with the vocabulary throughout the play. As with a typical period drama every word was clear and precise from all the members of the cast. So good to listen to the way people spoke to each other without mumbling or swearing.
There was a good mix of drama and comedy throughout and the odd tear as well (especially towards the end as Elizabeth and Darcy finally get together). Steven Meo (mr Collins) was magnificent with his overstated bow and comic lines.
The set and lighting for the production were also really good, with all the action centred around a revolving stage which served as the houses and gardens as the scenes progressed. May I also say this was beautifully produced, with so many highlights dotted throughout the whole performance, I couldn’t fault anything, it was just magnificent.
I have to say that I believe that any stage production is far superior to any film or TV show that has been made. The thrill of sitting in a luxurious theatre (like the Millenium Centre) watching the drama unfold in front of you, live and unrecorded, makes one feel alive and without a care in the world. That’s how I get by week by week, watching fabulous entertainment. And tonight’s serving was no exception, just wish I could have seen this a few more times (I always say this), it was just superb. I may have repeated myself a few times tonight in my blog, but when you see something that moves you so much, the odd repetitive theme is necessary to describe just how good this play actually was.
Saturday 3rd September 2016 and a change of venue for me today. Visiting the New Theatre in Cardiff to watch No Man’s Land, a play by Harold Pinter, starring Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen along with Welsh actor Owen Teale and Damien Molony. It’s not very often you get two massively huge theatre stars in the same show and in Cardiff as well, what an honour for the New Theatre to host these famous names.
I don’t see many plays, I’m mostly musicals and opera, but I need to broaden my horizons, and of course a once in a lifetime opportunity to see two amazing actors in action together, live on the same stage. Just looking at the programme you realise just how much the two sirs have achieved in their lives, with a full page of credits for each of them. So awe inspiring just to be in the same building. And a delightful treat for myself as well.
And so to the show from the start we have Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart onstage for the whole first half of the act, with Ian literally talking for most of it, a really impressive vocabulary, and diction. Also to keep the flow going for so long with apparent ease, showing just how much talent there is to behold. Patrick is pretty quiet for that section but still has the ability to act believably drunk throughout. The introduction of Damien and Owen provide a different path that the play takes from that point until the end of act one. A brilliant piece of literary theatre brought to life by four amazing actors. True talent shining throughout.
So on to act two which begins with Ian and Owen in the study, a really funny section with Owen looking like Ray from life on Mars, a little like him to. Moving to a scene with Patrick entering and reminiscing about the past with dalience a with Ian’s wife. A really impressive second act with Patrick taking up the mantle of main speaker, at least for half the act. With Ian finishing off the dialect with amazing ease. A truly fantastic play with comic undertones throughout. A true masterclass of acting Skills brought to life by a fabulous cast. I have to say I could not fault any of it, and would say that I was totally engrossed throughout. For my first Harold Pinter play I really enjoyed the whole performance. A lot of it was of course down to the brilliant cast assembled on stage (which I’ve aluded to already), just brilliant absolutely brilliant,made my day and just cannot believe what I’ve seen. Never be able to forget this as long as I have breath in my body.
Saturday 28th May 2016 at the New Theatre,Cardiff.for a performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream. One of Shakespeare’s best known plays.A production with the RSC and Everyman theatre company,with a special mention to the children of Rumney primary school here in Cardiff for their roles of the fairy train.
As this is my first ever Shakespeare play it intrigues me to see how it unfolds. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the first act a good mix of comedy combined with a superlative script aptly performed by all the characters.Puck and Helena steal the first act with such passion for each role, played brilliantly by Lucy Ellinson and Laura Riseborough.
As the play progresses to the woods we meet the troupe of actors rehearsing for a play to be set at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta and there the fun begins with mayhem and comedy running until the close of the first act. An amazingly funny and brilliantly acted first half leads me wanting more. Can’t wait for the second act to begin now.
To the second act,which I so enjoyed so much. As the act progresses and Oberon reverses the damage Puck has done to the lovers. They awake and unite with their rightful partners to wed with Theseus and Hippolyta. At the wedding reception a play is requested and performed by the troupe to end the play. At this point the audience is in hysterics as am I. This was a true delight and executed to perfection by the Everyman company who were all outstanding in their roles.
A special mention to the staging of the production which was excellent. Another major factor was that the whole cast worked so well together you could hardly tell the difference between the amateur and professional actors,which in the end is a huge bonus to all.
In all a fantastic play brilliantly performed by all of the cast. A special mention to the children of Rumney primary school who all performed so well. To the Everyman theatre company who gave the audience so much laughter and merriment. Also to the musicians on and off the stage who were magnificent. A strong cast of Performers for the RSC made this a wonderful occasion.
Finally a magnificent gesture by the RSC Cast as they themselves applauded the amateur players and children who had worked so well with them over the week, a gesture noticed by the audience and brought a tear to my eye. One last word to sum up the evening,SUPURB.
Saturday 14th may at the New Theatre,Cardiff. A play by David Wood and starring David Troughton as Tom Oakley. A story of a young boy (William Beech) evacuated to the countryside as World War Two looms, who is taken in by Tom rather reluctantly at first.
As the play progresses we start to see a relationship develop between William,Tom and the other children in the village especially a young thespian named Zach. The other cast members play dual roles including the other children in the village.
Williams mother portrayed by Melle Stewart, a hard religious woman who beats will before he is evacuated,is not seen until act two but envokes a dangerous threat to will as he is sent back home to be with his mum. These scenes are very harrowing with the upshot that will is left alone with his little newborn sister and tied in a cupboard until found by Tom, who missed will and went to London to find him.
From that moment on we see the struggle for Tom to adopt will after kidnapping him from his hospital bed during an air raid.
This play was extremely well made with a host of good actors taking you through a roller coaster ride to a satisfying end which brought a tear to many eyes in the auditorium. A special mention to Sammy the dog played by Elisa De Grey,who was outstanding and reminded me a little of war horse puppeteers,so good to watch and so lifelike you forgot it was a puppet by the end of the show.
In all a fantastic show,wonderfull acting by all and would definitely see this production again. Unfortunately it’s ended its run in Cardiff but is still touring.