Tag Archives: Adam Welsh

The Three Musketeers – 3 Stars

Musketeers

The Three Musketeers

St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden

Reviewed – 8th August 2018

★★★

“the rip-roaring finale in the church brought the audience to its feet in an explosion of cheers and applause”

 

This is Iris Theatre’s 10th season in the gardens of St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden. They produce two shows over the course of the summer – a Shakespeare and a family show – and this year’s swashbuckling adventure from 17th century France is a perfect confection for a family night out in London on a summer’s evening. The action takes place in three different playing arenas in the gardens themselves, and also moves into the church. Although moving between locations couldn’t help but slow things down a bit, the delight of the different mise-en-scènes more than made up for it, and the rip-roaring finale in the church brought the audience to its feet in an explosion of cheers and applause.

Dumas’ original novel is a behemoth of a book, and credit must go to Daniel Winder, Iris Theatre’s Artistic Director, for distilling it into a largely comprehensible two hour play. The younger children in the audience would certainly have found elements of the story confusing, in particular differentiating between the the national conflict – England vs France – and the French religious conflict – Catholic vs Huguenot – but the pursuit of the Queen’s diamonds was a good thread for them to follow, with excellent visual cues to help them through the more labyrinthine plot developments. Paul-Ryan Carberry’s sure-handed direction steered a steady course throughout, using elements of slapstick and pantomime with a deft touch to balance the darker themes and more baroque plot twists. In addition, Winder’s decision to turn d’Artagnan into a woman worked brilliantly, and the young female musketeer was a fantastic counterpoint to the magnificently malevolent Milady, played with immense hauteur and brio by Ailsa Joy.

Working in the open air in the middle of Central London is immensely challenging for an actor, and the predominantly young cast attacked the task with relish, and they were aided too by Adam Welsh’s excellent sound design. Inevitably, many of the performances were painted with pretty broad strokes – open air theatre is rarely the place to go for subtlety and nuance – but there was a terrific ensemble spirit, and some excellent multi-role work too, particularly from the charismatic Stephan Boyce (Planchet/Treville/Rochefort/Lord Winter) and the splendidly entertaining Elliot Liburd (Porthos/King of France).

Finally, special mention must go to Roger Bartlett, the production’s fight director. No evening spent in the company of the musketeers would be complete without some serious sword play, and Iris Theatre did not disappoint in this regard. There is something rather wonderful about hearing the church clock striking and seeing the garden’s white roses glowing in the dusk, whilst watching a mighty clash of swords, and knowing that 21st century London nightlife continues all around. A unique treat; there to be savoured.

 

Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Nick Rutter

 


The Three Musketeers

St Paul’s Church until 2nd September

 

 

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There but for the Grace of God (Go I) – 4 Stars

Grace

There but for the Grace of God (Go I)

Soho Theatre

Reviewed – 6th August 2018

★★★★

“If ever there was a show deserving of a longer run, this is it”

 

We’ve probably all, at some stage, ‘googled’ ourselves out of curiosity, boredom, or whatever it might be. Upon doing just this, actor Adam Welsh finds that the first result is that of a six year old boy, Adam Walsh, kidnapped from a Florida department store in 1971, resulting in national uproar. It’s this that forms the basis of the production. Through the retelling of these dark events and a comparison between them and the actor’s own childhood, parent-child relationships are explored in what is an intriguing piece of theatre.

Welsh has the audience engaged from the get-go, with an element of audience participation when he asks for a show of hands of who has ever ‘googled’ themselves. The responses allow for laughs and it’s immediately apparent we are in safe hands.

There are many engaging, cleverly executed elements throughout the production – too many to name, in fact. Adam Welsh starts to tell of the disappearance of little Adam Walsh through the use of Lego figurines, filmed on a laptop webcam and projected onto the back of the set. We are led down memory lane on numerous occasions as we learn of personal stories from Welsh’s own childhood, including how he himself once went missing at a water park. Stories such as this are told through the inclusion of candid clips of his parents recounting events and reminiscing, with Welsh himself frequently mirroring segments of what they have said, which proves very effective.

Sequences from a film dramatising the disappearance of Adam Walsh in Florida are projected at various points, with Welsh, again, mirroring some of the action. Particularly powerful is the mirroring of an outburst of rage displayed by little Adam Walsh’s father.

There But for the Grace of God (Go I) should be described as more of a theatrical experience than just a show. There’s always something to engage with and never a dull moment. Touching personal stories combined with the retelling of a real crime truly bring home the value of life and relationships and you’d need a heart of stone to not be moved. If ever there was a show deserving of a longer run, this is it.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Peter Corkhill

 


There but for the Grace of God (Go I)

Soho Theatre until 8th August

 

Related
Previously reviewed at this venue
Dust | ★★★★★ | February 2018
Sugar Baby | ★★★★★ | May 2018
Flesh & Bone | ★★★★★ | July 2018

 

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