Tag Archives: Kieran Parrott

[Title of Show]

★★★

Moors Bar

Title of Show

[ Title of Show ]

Moors Bar Theatre

Reviewed – 7th August 2019

★★★

 

“This play does carry a strong message, which director Eleanor Felton expertly highlights”

 

The Camden Fringe promotes itself as a chance to see edgy, experimental and brand new theatre. To be invited to see a show called [ title of show ] therefore didn’t raise much of an eyebrow, although I do wonder how many people bypass the play due to the ambiguity of the title. I however was intrigued and turned up with an open mind, an open notebook and a slightly puzzled expression on my face.

It turns out that this is the story of Jeff, Heidi, Hunter and Susan, writing a musical about Jeff, Heidi, Hunter and Susan. They give themselves three and a half weeks to write a script and submit it to a festival with the ultimate hope that it might be a hit and end up on Broadway. Not having a specific idea for a plot, they sit down to write the first things that come into their heads and to document for inclusion, all conversations that they hold.

The small, square stage was decorated by four simple, wooden chairs. These were well used and effortlessly moved around. The simple lighting was used to good effect.

An original idea for a script, a lot of the obvious gags were used early on and the dialogue did at times become a little repetitive, although many of the ‘under the breath’ quips were very nicely done particularly by Susan. Writing can be a tortuous, lonely task and watching people struggling for ideas to move their piece on, didn’t always make for the most compulsive viewing, despite us being told that ‘Writing should be as easy as a monkey driving a speedboat’!.

But this is a musical and any show from this genre will live or die by its musical numbers. Fortunately, the four strong cast (William Tippery, Charlotte Denton, Kieran Parrott and Alyssa LeClair) are all blessed with equally strong singing voices, the harmonies were a highlight and filled the room with the most gorgeous sounds, all under the expert accompaniment of Robert Hazle who was so skilled, that at times you never even noticed his on-point playing.

Highlights, were the opening number “No Title”, the delightful “Stuck In A Role Playing Me” the cleverly written and well delivered “Who Is Heidi, Who Is Susan” and the amusing “Unwanted Photo-Shoot”. Oddly, my only real issue with the music was the finale. A cracking, uplifting number was belted out and drew whoops and applause, only to be followed by a downbeat, final number which took the wind a little out of the sails.

The show ran out of steam a little in its final third, “I want to have substance. not fluff” one of the actors cried, a small amount of editing and a little more substance would in my opinion, help the show to roll along at a better pace.

I have to mention the ‘Relaxed Performance’ that this company are putting on this Friday afternoon for adults or young adults with autism or complex sensory needs. A lovely idea and I wish them every success with this venture.

This play does carry a strong message, which director Eleanor Felton expertly highlights. Be inspired to take a risk and do the thing that you’ve been wanting to do, do it for three weeks and then show somebody. You may have a gem?

Thank you Plan Z Theatre for an interesting evening, if anybody wants me, I’ll be available in three weeks time…

 

Reviewed by Chris White

Pictures by Joel M Photography

 

Camden Fringe

[ Title of Show ]

Moors Bar until 10th August as part of Camden Fringe 2019

 

Previous shows covered by this reviewer:
Citysong | ★★★★ | Soho Theatre | June 2019
Little Light | ★★★ | The Tower Theatre | June 2019
Feel The Love | ★★★★ | Chickenshed Theatre | July 2019
Parenthood | ★★★½ | The Space | July 2019

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

 

Fanny and Stella

Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story
★★★★

Above the Stag

Fanny and Stella

Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story

Above The Stag

Reviewed – 10th May 2019

★★★★

 

“a fantastic romp through the Victorian world, in all its pomposity, hypocrisy and raw authenticity”

 

From the moment we enter the theatre we know we are in for a night of Victorian entertainment – part musical, part pantomime, part courtroom drama. Glenn Chandler’s ‘Fanny & Stella’ transports us, via Bermondsey Working Men’s Club, to the drama of a pair who describe themselves as ‘he-she ladies’. It is a fantastic romp through the Victorian world, in all its pomposity, hypocrisy and raw authenticity.

The drama takes them through their turbulent love life, through to their time of arrest and trial for dressing as women and ‘conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offence’. Much of the action is beautifully portrayed through the songs, with standout performances from Tobias Charles as Fanny, and Kieran Parrott as Stella. The music underscores the action, telling the story and giving us an insight into the joys and sufferings of the characters. Chandler’s lyrics are witty and in some cases vulgar. The formal music hall tunes (score by Charles Miller), with four part harmonies are punctured with risqué references, much to the amusement of the audience.

The set equally plays its part, with two closets involved. It is no coincidence that entrances and exits are made through these – part of director Steven Dexter’s nimble work in bringing out moments of commentary alongside the farce. Sometimes however some parts lacked subtlety, Fanny and Stella recount their own tale in a deliberately elaborate manner, yet at points this staging of their story feels over-egged.

This is a minor quibble. There is potential for a play like this to be a heavy-handed vehicle to comment on today’s gender and sexual politics. However, Charles and Parrott allow the characters to speak for themselves and for the story to breath. In this ambitious play it is left to us to make the connections, and draw our own conclusions, and it’s all the better for it.

As an audience, we are sucked into the old forms of melodrama and music hall, with top hats and jazz hands galore. What makes this show special is that it has a twist in the tail. In the end, it is the clever knowing quality of the songs that really stand out creating a new, more relevant form of pantomime.

 

Reviewed by Emily Morris

 

Fanny and Stella

Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story

Above the Stag until 2nd June

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Title Of Show | ★★★★ | February 2019
Goodbye Norma Jeane | ★★ | March 2019
Romance Romance | ★★★★ | March 2019
Queereteria TV | ★★ | April 2019

 

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