Due to being ill, I’d had to postpone our outing to see Bananaman The Musical – but it ended up being the perfect first night out for 2018.
Southwark Playhouse is a great, intimate venue which was perfect for this night of cartoon-inspired tom-foolery, caricatures, great songs, live band, and generally happy atmosphere.
The songs were upbeat and easy on the ears due to some fantastic vocalists – the space was used inventively. Places where the lack of special effects could’ve fallen flat were played for laughs to great success. The choreography was great, the acting was excellent and it brought the Bananaman of my childhood afternoons back to life.
It’s funny, as I said in my post about The Pitchfork Disney, I had never heard of Philip Ridley before, and suddenly I had unknowingly managed to book up to see two of his plays in less than a fortnight! this time it was to see Ridley’s latest offering – Shivered at the wonderful Southwark Playhouse.
A young couple are moving into their new home. Two boys are searching for monsters or aliens. A soldier is being held hostage. A young family are moving into a new town. A fat psychic is reliant on her young son. How do these people inter-connect? Where does the story begin and end?
The imaginary Essex new-town of Draylingstowe is the setting for the majority of the play – once a place of hope and prosperity it has declined into a misery, bringing down its resisdents with it. The story revolves around two families and covers twelve years – but NOT necessarily in chronological order.
This play was mesmerising, and really superbly acted – no mean feat considering there was no set at all! The way that it meandered across the years, slowly changing the audience’s perception of events was extremely clever.
At times the audience were laughing out loud, and at times there was a collective holding of breath – and yet never did I feel that we were being taken on this emotional roller-coaster just for the sake of it. even the shocking parts didn’t feel that they were purely for shock value – they all added to the evolution of the characters. And the characters were very rich.
I was especially taken by Joshua Williams as Jack – an energetic, endearing and slightly naive young lad who is a victim of bullying and who can’t believe that anything has actually happened unless he has seen the evidence on YouTube.
I absolutely loved it and even now, a week after I saw it, I am replaying some of the scenes in my head and wondering whether I have just thought of a different angle on something within it.
Shivered is showing until 14th April – if you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.
I have never read or seen The Canterbury Tales, although I was kind of familiar with the concept and a couple of the tales. I had also never been to Southwark Playhouse before, which was rather remiss of me, but i happen to be going again tomorrow to see Howl’s Moving Castle – which should be fab!
The Canterbury Tales was actually perfect for the festive season! The space was set up to resemble an old English tavern, and we were encouraged to buy drinks at the bar, served in proper pewter tankards – ale, water or (in our case) mulled wine. Introductions were made by Chaucer’s innkeeper, Harry Bailey, who started proceedings worryingly in proper old English. I could see everyone looking at each other as the words washed over them, with no understanding following. i didn’t dare look at my mate as it had been my choice to go and I thought he would never forgive me. However, he soon switched to ‘modern’ English (apart from to introduce each tale – which became extremely hypnotic and fitting) , and introduced the troupe, who were all fantastic.
The tales (and the players) were loud, bawdy, funny and brilliantly acted out. And the plays were interspersed with old English folk songs, accompanied by instruments well-played by the troupe (violin, cello, lute, guitar, cymbals etc) – some of them slightly lewd (like The Cuckoo’s Nest). We were treated to tales of love triangles, demons, vanity, greed and chickens! We witnessed knight’s fighting (all be it with violin bows), poisoning, naked arses (male AND female) and a good dose of raunch!
It was an absolutely brilliant evening – hugely enjoyable, and totally feel good!