Tag Archives: Rachelle Diedericks

The Walworth Farce

The Walworth Farce

★★★

Southwark Playhouse Elephant

THE WALWORTH FARCE at Southwark Playhouse Elephant

★★★

The Walworth Farce

“The play has many levels but is predominantly delivered on one strata of sensationalism.”

 

The opening moments of “The Walworth Farce” are silent and surreal. But our minds are clamouring with questions. Why, for instance, is the guy stage left dressed in just his Y-fronts and ironing a dress on a makeshift cardboard coffin? Why is the man, centre stage, polishing a silver cup, making guttural sounds, and flexing his muscles? Enter a third character, a shaved pathway running through the top of his head, unpacking a giant salami from a shopping bag. They all convene centre stage – the first man now in full drag – and appear to be enacting a funeral. They wander in and out of wardrobes. There is talk of a dead stallion landing on ‘Mammy’, killing her outright. One claims to be a brain surgeon. There is fury over the erroneous shopping bag (more, of which, later – it becomes pivotal to the action).

The pieces gradually come together to form some sort of blurred picture. But questions remain and the accessibility still lies beyond our grasp. Enda Walsh’s 2006 black comedy is an odd, although brave, choice to open the new branch of Southwark Playhouse. There is no doubt that the setting of Walsh’s grim farce was an underlying factor. The high rise flat in which the play’s characters are holed up towers above the chaos of the Elephant and Castle roundabout. But, like the apartment which can only be reached by the fifteen flights of stairs, this revival has the same level of inaccessibility.

The bizarre scenario is routine for Dinny (Dan Skinner), Sean (Emmet Byrne) and Blake (Killian Coyle). They have been re-enacting, every day for ten years now, the events that forced them to leave their family home in Cork for London. Dinny’s repressive, bullying father figure forces his two sons to re-imagine the events by forcing on them his own warped version of the facts. Sean vaguely remembers the reality, but Blake has no choice but to take his father’s word for it. Sean is allowed out of the flat once a day to go to Tesco, otherwise the boys are imprisoned, literally and emotionally. The multiple locks on the door of Anisha Fields’ impressively grimy set are one of many metaphors that smatter the action and the language. The play has many levels but is predominantly delivered on one strata of sensationalism.

The performances are undeniably impressive, whether grappling with the heightened dynamics of the family or with the technical intricacies of Nicky Allpress’ stylishly choreographed pacing of the narrative. Skinner, as Dinny, avoids the ridiculous by instilling fear, dressing his tyranny in the spurious claim to be protecting his sons. Killian Doyle, as well as portraying the susceptible younger brother Blake, dons various wigs to represent all the female characters from the childhood memories. Emmet Byrne plays the men in the play within the play, but comes into his own as Sean – afraid to challenge but eventually forced to do so with a horrific and tragic outcome.

The relentless replaying of scenes suffers from a lack of regard for audience appeal. Until the arrival of Hayley, the checkout girl from Tesco who has turned up with the correct shopping bag that Sean should have brought home. Rachelle Diedericks brings a crucial breath of fresh air and a much-needed human touch into the surrealism. Although events become even more sinister, it is more believable. Hayley’s initial bubbly attraction to Sean is quickly shattered and, amid the chaotic realisation, Diedericks’ subtle performance is the one to draw the only real concern or empathy we might feel.

“What are we if we are not our stories?” asks Dinny? But, then again, what are we if those stories are fake. Re-invented to suit our needs. To survive even. Beneath the cluttered allegories and ramshackle absurdism that is presented on stage, there is a poignant, desperate, potentially funny, and equally tragic, terrifying and sad tale to be told. The desire to dig deep and find it is a challenge. But one that is worth accepting.

 

Reviewed on 24th February 2023

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by David Jensen

 

 

Previously reviewed at Southwark Playhouse venues:

 

Anyone Can Whistle | ★★★★ | April 2022
I Know I Know I Know | ★★★★ | April 2022
The Lion | ★★★ | May 2022
Evelyn | ★★★ | June 2022
Tasting Notes | ★★ | July 2022
Doctor Faustus | ★★★★★ | September 2022
The Prince | ★★★ | September 2022
Who’s Holiday! | ★★★ | December 2022
Hamlet | ★★★ | January 2023
Smoke | ★★ | February 2023

Click here to read all our latest reviews

 

The Band – Full Cast

The full cast are now announced for David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Take That’s UK Tour of Tim Firth’s new musical, THE BAND, with the music of Take That. The tour will begin at Manchester Opera House on 8 September, with a national press night on Tuesday 26 September 2017.

The advance box office for the tour has now topped a record-breaking £10million.

 

LtoR Lauren Jacobs, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Faye Christall, Sarah Kate Howarth
Katy Clayton, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Faye Christall, Rachelle Diedericks, AJ Bentley, Sario Solomon, Sarah Kate Howarth, Yazadan Qafouri, Lauren Jacobs
LtoR Lauren Jacobs, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Faye Christall, Sarah Kate Howarth
LtoR Curtis T Johns, Nick Carsberg, AJ Bentley, Yazdan Qafouri, Sario Solomon
LtoR Jayne McKenna, Emily Joyce, Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn
Back LtoR Nick Carsberg, Sario Solomon, Yazdan Qafouri; Front LtoR Curtis T Johns, Jayne McKenna, Emily Joyce, Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, AJ Bentley
LtoR Jayne McKenna, Emily Joyce, Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn
LtoR Lauren Jacobs, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Faye Christall, Sarah Kate Howarth

 

 

Joining the previously announced AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, collectively known as 5 to 5, winners of BBC’s Let It Shine, who will play The Band, Rachel Lumberg as Rachel and Faye Christall as Young Rachel, will be Emily Joyce as Heather, Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, Jayne McKenna as Zoe, Katy Clayton as Young Heather, Sarah Kate Howarth as Young Claire, Lauren Jacobs as Young Zoe, Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie, Martin Miller as Jeff and Andy Williams as Dave.

AJ Bentley studied dance before taking part in Let It Shine. Nick Carsberg was a classic car restorer before taking part in Let It Shine. Curtis T Johns has been a songwriter for the last eight years, writing for artists such as Matt Cardle and Ray Quinn. He also owns and runs a rugby club in his home city of Leeds. Yazdan Qafouri is originally from Iran, but was raised in the North East of England. Sario Solomon made his professional debut at the age of 11 in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Rachel Lumberg’s most recent tours include This Is My Family, The Full Monty, Dandy Dick and Calendar Girls. Faye Christall’s theatre credits include Broken Biscuits (Paines Plough), Gone Viral (St James Theatre) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and she is part of the Cirque Du Soleil Company.

Emily Joyce’s television credits include series regulars Jill in My Almost Famous Family, Sarah Fletcher in Mutual Friends and Janet Dawkins in My Hero. Her most recent theatre includes Judy in the West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Alison Fitzjohn has just finished as assistant director and performer in David Walliams’s tour of Gangsta Granny. She also played The Queen of Hearts/Duchess in the Olivier-nominated immersive production of Alice’s Adventures Underground by Les Enfants Terribles. Over the past 12 years, Alison has performed all over the world in Horrible Histories, Barmy Britain and Horrible Science. Jayne McKenna’s recent theatre credits include Rose Naracott in War Horse in the West End, Sylvia in This Happy Breed for the Peter Hall Company, Lily Gibb in Men Should Weep at the National and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at the Northcott Theatre. She also appeared in the film version of the National Theatre’s production of London Road as Imelda.

Katy Clayton made her first TV appearance at the age of six on Coronation Street. She appeared in various TV shows such as Casualty, Shameless and Waterloo Road and played series regular Samantha Booth in Where the Heart Is for four years. Sarah Kate Howarth’s theatre credits include Copycat (Southwark Playhouse), Whistle Down The Wind (Union Theatre), Tess of the D’Urbervilles (New Wimbledon Theatre) and Spring Awakening (Edinburgh Fringe). Lauren Jacobs and Rachelle Diedericks will be making their professional debuts in THE BAND.

Martin Miller’s recent theatre includes Antonio in The Revenger’s Tragedy and Keith Haines in Darkness, both for Nottingham Playhouse, two UK tours of The Full Monty as Dave, and Alfred Hitchcock in The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock (Leicester Curve, UK Tour and Brits Off Broadway). Andy Williams’s recent theatre credits include Arnold in Hir (Bush Theatre), Giles/Captain in Emma Rice’s production of Rebecca (Plymouth Theatre Royal/Tour), The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre), Ted Narracot in War Horse (New London Theatre) and Albert/Fred/Stephen in Kneehigh Theatre’s Brief Encounter.

 

 

For further show information and full tour details please visit:

 

www.thebandmusical.com

 

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