Tag Archives: Jack Condon

Noughts and Crosses
★★

Theatre Royal Brighton & UK Tour

Noughts and Crosses

Noughts and Crosses

Theatre Royal Brighton & UK Tour

Reviewed – 19th March 2019

★★

 

“misfires terribly, covering too many issues without any real cohesion and substance”

 

The idea of Noughts and Crosses appears a simple one. The tables have turned and the power in the world rests with the black population, not the white. We have the Crosses that epitomises power, wealth and political dominance and then the Noughts, second class citizens who are discriminated against because of their beliefs and are banned from interaction with the Crosses.

The story of Noughts and Crosses follows two teens from opposing sides of society, Sephy (Heather Agyepong), a Cross and Callum (Billy Harris), a Nought. We start by seeing their childhood innocence but that soon shifts onto much darker tones.

Throughout the piece we identify the rest of the cast (Doreene Blackstock, Jack Condon, Daniel Copeland, Lisa Howard, Chris Jack and Kimisha Lewis) jumping between characters. From parents of the two teens to members of rebellious militia groups amongst others. This could be a real strength of the piece but however falls flat with no real clear distinction vocally from the actors to differentiate between the roles which is ultimately confusing for the audience.

In the Noughts and Crosses novel series Malorie Blackman understands who we are as people better than most. The characters she’s created, in Sephy and Callum particularly, have depth but are poorly transitioned onto stage by adapter Sabrina Mahfouz. I do sympathise with Mahfouz however as it is an ambitious effort to translate all the themes from the first two novels, which Noughts and Crosses is based on, into just two hours. Above all I feel there is a clear generation gap in the writing, condescending in its approach to youth issues. The use of phrases such as ‘Flipping Sod’ makes us cringe rather than connect.

The saving grace in this production however comes from the design team, in that of Josh Drualas Pharo (Lighting) Arun Ghosh (Music), Xana (Sound), Adam McCready (Sound Engineer) Ian William Galloway (Video) and Simon Kerry (Design). The arrangement echoes The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time, a sparse stage with hidden compartments and doors. The attractive set helps the transitioning of scenes seem effortless.

Overall Noughts and Crosses misfires terribly, covering too many issues without any real cohesion and substance. Rape, physical abuse, teenage pregnancy and radicalisation are all pertinent issues however the end result is chaotic and clumsy; a condescending scattergun of the analysis of youth and love.

 

Reviewed by Nathan Collins

Photography by Robert Day

 


Noughts and Crosses

Theatre Royal Brighton until 23rd March

then UK Tour continues

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
This is Elvis | ★★★ | July 2018
Salad Days | ★★★ | September 2018
Rocky Horror Show | ★★★★ | December 2018
Benidorm Live! | ★★★★ | February 2019

 

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Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out!
★★★★

London Welsh Centre

Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out!

Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out!

London Welsh Centre

Reviewed – 13th December 2018

★★★★

“You soon find yourself grinning, then laughing out loud, swept along by the rowdy exuberance”

 

From the outset I knew this wouldn’t be a standard evening at the theatre. The opening set piece – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ performed with absurd new lyrics – throws you in at the deep end and lets you know what to expect. The Not Too Tame theatre company’s Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out! is comical, irreverent and deliberately ridiculous. The show is noisy, smart and streetwise, and you are never more than a few seconds away from another funny line.

To say this show is ‘loosely based’ on Cinderella would be a major understatement. Luke Barnes’ script riffs on motifs from that fairytale and rides a huge anarchic truck through the middle of it with no attempt whatsoever to be faithful to the source material. It’s so fresh, relaxed and spontaneous that it feels improvised. The small cast operate in your midst and ignore the stage altogether.

The ‘story’, what there is of one, explores the fate of the young, orphaned Cinderella (Gemma Barnett), who works in a pub with her smelly, suicidal dog Buttons (Alex Griffin-Griffiths). The latter spends most of the evening carrying a prosthetic leg. (You eventually find out why.) Cinderella also lives with a wicked stepmother called Judy Garland (Jess Johnson) and her ugly sisters Simone and Garfunkel. (Some of the audience might have been too young to get that joke, but I appreciated it). Played by Louise Haggerty and Naomi McDonald, these two absolutely steal the show with a relentlessly flirty, hilariously bitchy double act that’s a delight to watch.

Jack Condon inverts the character of Prince Charming so that his name becomes somewhat ironic. Meanwhile Jack Brown is ‘Mike’, an amiable compere with long hair, a beard and a glittery silver dress. Mike holds the whole thing together, although much of the show’s appeal comes from the way it seems to teeter on the verge of collapse.

Jimmy Fairhurst’s direction makes the most of the small space available, and it works because the bar in which we’re seated naturally becomes the pub in the story. A karaoke machine is utilised at regular intervals for the likes of ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’ and ‘Stand by Your Man’, with the cast singing lustily and drawing the audience into the act without humiliating anyone too much. A few punters are picked on mercilessly, but the actors are skilled enough to gauge who is happy to play along.

Don’t be expecting anything approaching a standard theatre production: this certainly isn’t a plot-driven narrative experience. Plus, if you’re offended by ‘colourful’ language then it’s probably not for you. It’s perfect for a fun night out with a bunch of mates, but don’t take your young kids or elderly parents. The energy is infectious and has the effect of making you feel pleasantly drunk even if you’re still sober. You soon find yourself grinning, then laughing out loud, swept along by the rowdy exuberance. And if all that isn’t entertainment enough, you’re even invited to take part in your own karaoke session afterwards.

 

Reviewed by Stephen Fall

Photography by Chris Webb

 

Not Too Tame

Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out!

London Welsh Centre & Touring

 

 

 

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