Tag Archives: Geraint Lewis

THE FALCON'S MALTESER

The Falcon’s Malteser
★★★★★

The Vaults

The Falcons Malteser

The Falcon’s Malteser

The Vaults

Reviewed – 19th July 2019

★★★★★

 

“wonderful fun for both young and old”

 

The Falcon’s Malteser is the first book in The Diamond Brothers comic detective series by Anthony Horowitz. Directed by Lee Lyford, Feargus Woods Dunlop’s stage adaption of The Falcon’s Malteser revitalises the 1986 novel and brings Horowitz’s quick wit and clever storytelling to a new generation of fans.

Timothy Simple (Matt Jopling) is an ex-policeman who has rebranded himself as Tim Diamond, the world’s greatest private detective. Unfortunately, Tim is not the brightest sleuth meaning much of the detective work is done by his kid-brother Nick (Sian Eleanor Green). Together, they form the Diamond Brothers Detective Agency though business hasn’t been doing too great.

That is until the three-foot Mexican Johnny Naples drops off a mysterious package at Tim’s office and the Diamond Brothers find themselves at the centre of the international criminal world. When the package’s contents are revealed to be a box of Maltesers owned by evil mastermind Henry von Falkenberg, Tim and Nick must decipher the tasty treat’s significance before London’s crime boss The Fat Man (Samantha Sutherland) and German hitman Himmell (Fergus Leathem) close in.

The acting was strong from all with Leathem and Sutherland doing incredible performances as multiple characters. Hiccups such as Sutherland missing a porthole when throwing a wig were handled with humour and played into the parodic and self-referential nature of Horowitz’s series.

The set (Carl Davies) was cleverly designed and allowed for smooth transitions between the different settings. The backdrop consisted of four doors and a window that also doubled as multiple shop fronts. Three of the doors could be flipped as to either form part of the grey wall or act as doorways. The door furthest to the left had a circular panel that could be removed through which characters could pop up and in one scene used to hang a disco ball.

The play’s chase sequences involved particularly impressive staging. In the first, Leathem as Himmell enacted an entire car chase with headlamps strapped to his knees while holding a steering wheel and riding a swivel chair. In the second, Sutherland as the dancer Lauren Bacardi and Green made great use of the set’s numerous doors and chase sequence tropes.

The lighting (Jack Weir) transformed the stage in an instance. A green hue gave the impression of a dingy basement while disco lights instantly conjured a lively club atmosphere. During Nick’s monologues, the stage would go black and Green put under a spotlight. This was an excellent way of keeping the audience engaged with the play’s necessary exposition despite the action on stage.

The music (James Nicholson) was wonderfully atmospheric. Soft jazz reminiscent of film noir detective movies played throughout the performance including as a flank for Nick’s narration. An upbeat remix of a self-checkout machine’s stock phrases such as ‘there is an unexpected item in the bagging area’ was also a particularly creative backing track to a high street chase sequence.

There were also several musical numbers for which Jopling provided guitar accompaniment. Leathem and Sutherland were standout here, first performing a duet as the Diamond brothers’ parents and then Leathem, as Tim’s old boss Inspector Snape, rapping about all the villains in his life to the beat of Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang. The final song was a solo by Jopling who played the guitar in handcuffs which meant he had to comically climb into his guitar strap rather than put it over his head.


This adaption of The Falcon’s Malteser is wonderful fun for both young and old and its quick-paced and witty script is sure to have the audience both laughing and gripped.

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Geraint Lewis

 


The Falcon’s Malteser

The Vaults until 25th August

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Check In/Check Out | ★★★ | March 2019
Donal The Numb | ★★★★ | March 2019
Essex Girl | ★★★★ | March 2019
Feed | ★★★★ | March 2019
How Eva Von Schnippisch Won WWII | ★★★★ | March 2019
The Talented Mr Ripley | ★★★★ | March 2019
Vulvarine | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Bare: A Pop Opera | ★★★ | June 2019
Black Is The Color Of My Voice | ★★★★ | June 2019
Me and my Whale | ★★★ | June 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Black is the Color of my Voice
★★★★

The Vaults

Color of my Voice

Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults

Reviewed – 28th June 2019

★★★★

 

“Campbell has created something full of emotion, with engaging dialogue and beautifully executed vocals”

 

Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on 21st February 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina. She was, and still is, widely regarded as one of the most influential recording artists of the 20th century. But what was life like for her? Apphia Campbell has written and also performs in Black is the Color of My Voice, a piece inspired by the life of celebrated performer, Nina Simone.

Campbell, as Simone, is alone in the performance space, delivering her lines to a photograph of her late father, who it is clear she has deep affections for. She very much involves and engages the audience, addressing lines to us, as well as the photograph. Throughout the piece, we are taken on a journey through Simone’s life, from her childhood discovering a love of playing the piano, to her romantic relationships, abuse endured and her commitment to the American Civil Rights Movement. Although the piece is set in one room, furnished with a bed, a desk and chairs, it’s easy to imagine the other various locations spoken about, as a result of the descriptive dialogue and enchanting storytelling.

The emotion and passion shown throughout is inspiring to say the least. You can’t help but be drawn in to each and every experience of the singer that is shared on stage. There are light moments, including amusing impressions of Simone’s mother when she learned of her daughter’s interest in jazz, “the devil’s music”. The darker moments, including a recollection of Simone’s abusive marriage, are heartbreaking and a great deal of empathy is created.

Lighting (Clancy Flynn) and sound (Tom Lishman) design during the section of the piece highlighting Simone’s horror over events surrounding the American Civil Rights Movement is hugely effective. Recordings of real news segments, the aftermath of horrific events and speeches are played, as well as lights flashing as she changes T.V channels. These elements, combined with Campbell’s acting abilities, ensure a highly dramatic and tense section of the piece.

You don’t necessarily need to be a fan of Nina Simone to be absorbed in this show. Apphia Campbell has created something full of emotion, with engaging dialogue and beautifully executed vocals in songs interwoven throughout. Direction by Arran Hawkins and Nate Jacobs has ensured the space is used well and the energy never falters. It’s clear why Campbell’s show has enjoyed worldwide success in recent years.

 

Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Geraint Lewis

 


Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults until 13th July

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Ares | ★★★★ | March 2019
Check In/Check Out | ★★★ | March 2019
Donal The Numb | ★★★★ | March 2019
Essex Girl | ★★★★ | March 2019
Feed | ★★★★ | March 2019
How Eva Von Schnippisch Won WWII | ★★★★ | March 2019
The Talented Mr Ripley | ★★★★ | March 2019
Vulvarine | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Me and my Whale | ★★★ | June 2019
Bare: A Pop Opera | ★★★ | June 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com