I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a local group was to perform 'Spamalot'. St. Albans Musical Theatre (previously known as St Albans Operatic Society) have been producing high-quality productions for some years now and I must say expectations were high. St. Albans is blessed with many high-quality amateur and professional performers (being located close to London being one of the main reasons), as well as directors and choreographers.
Another strong production by The Company of Ten. Well acted and staged. High quality theatre. This is a play that The Company of Ten should be highly suited to and indeed they are! All the main characters are credible and well-acted by the cast. The costumes and scenery are spot on in achieving a look and feel of a pre-war English country house. A very enjoyable and entertaining evening. Highly recommended, running till October 20th.
This was the first time I had seen a performance in the studio part of the Abbey Theatre. I must say I liked the intimacy this created. Allowing the audience to feel a part of the production, almost. The play is quite short, in two acts of 45-50 minutes or so and this felt right. All the dialogue and action had meaning and impact.
I must admit that this is not a play that I was familiar with, but some research showed that the lead role was performed by Mark Rylance originally, for which he won many awards and the play many plaudits. The play has a reputation for being, shall we say 'edgy', due to the adult content, including frequent strong language. An interesting and laudable choice for a local theatre group. The play revolves around the character of Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, played by Marlon Gill. A loner, living in a caravan close to a new Housing estate, the residents of which would like to see the back of him. A larger-than-life character, living on the edge of the law.
I still have strong memories of watching Abigail's Party on the BBC back in 1977. I was a young teenager and alternately bemused, amused and appalled at what I saw and heard. It left a lasting impression and I have followed the work of Mike Leigh and Alison Steadman ever since. It is not the safest of choices for a local theatre, although it can be hilarious in places, the characterisation is very strong and the reputation of the original production is so strong that any new production has a lot to live up to.