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.
Bugsy Malone Live is based on the 1976 hit musical gangster comedy film Bugsy Malone. The film centres around the grit and glamour of 1920’s New York, Chicago and the exploits of real-life gangsters and molls – but the cast were all child actors. QYT are holding Open Auditions for budding young performers aged between 7 and 25 years on Sunday 8th July at the Hertford Theatre, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS. Doors will open for registration at 10.30am for what will be a fun-packed, exciting day running from 11am to 3.30pm.
The Birthday of the Infanta is a special performance which takes place at the Trestle Arts Theatre, St Albans on 2 - 5th March. "Adults and young people alike are invited by the Infanta, the Spanish princess
Touring theatre company Peppermint Muse has made a bold choice with its next production, Death and Dancing, which is coming to St Albans in the first week of February. Written by Claire Dowie, who based the play on some of her original stand-up comedy material, Death and Dancing is set against the backdrop of eighties sexual politics. It is a fast and furious comedy that attacks conventional notions of gender and labelling.
Holly Road Productions (Ben Hill and St Albans local Alex Bell) are presenting 6 new short plays written in response to theme of "White Lies" which will premiere over two weekends in August. The plays will be directed by Stanley Walton (another St Albans local) and star just 4 actors. The actors Tom Crowhurst, Liam Hynes, Daisy May Parsons and Sarah Cullum will have one day to rehearse each play and will be playing all characters. The entire production will be designed by Wimbledon College of Arts graduate Lauren Woodward and will feature original music composed by Henry Mitton.
The Abbey Theatre's Christmas production, A Christmas Carol, opened on Saturday to capacity audiences. Many performances are already sold out, with availability largely limited to the end of the run. Charles Dickens’ tale was first told in 1843 has been adapted many times for the stage and screen. This colourful version is designed for all the family, featuring music, comedy and a young cast that shows great versatility, with many of them playing several roles.
Inequality and sexual politics in the workplace are common themes in the theatre today, but not something you would expect from a 1930’s play. However, London Wall, at the Abbey Theatre from next week, is set in a City solicitor’s office at that time. It’s a fascinating and touching play that strongly evokes the atmosphere of the time, and the concerns of working women.
Office politics take a dramatic turn at the Abbey Theatre Studio next week, with their production of Bull, a powerful play about workplace bullying, written by Mike Bartlett. Three colleagues, Thomas, Isobel and Tony, gather together before an important meeting with their manager, Carter. The company is downsizing, and one of the three is about to lose their job. It soon becomes apparent that Isobel and Tony have decided Thomas will be the sacrificial lamb, as they begin a barrage of insults, innuendo and uninvited physical contact, aimed at undermining and overwhelming him.
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.
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.
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