Tag Archives: Rob Pomfret

The Gap – 4 Stars

Gap

The Gap

Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 9th October 2018

★★★★

“far more poignant and interrogative than it gives itself credit for”

 

It isn’t uncommon for shows to oversell themselves – bellowing about their meaning, message, and how important their work is, while actually being somewhat hollow. Strangely, Harrie Dobby’s The Gap undersells itself; its marketing brands it as a comedy, and while it certainly delivers on laughs, it’s also far more poignant and interrogative than it gives itself credit for.

The play centres on Lisa and Dave, whose paths intersect as they are backpacking around the world; they fall in love with each other, as well as the lifestyle, and find their ambitions and dreams challenged as the obligations and commitments of normal life start taking over. Dobby’s script is brimming with snappy dialogue and a blitzing pace that still gives sufficient attention to character moments. The comedy gleams especially bright when poking fun at the situations the characters find themselves in instead of relying on gags, and the whole cast does a magnificent job of wringing the humour out of every moment.

This is in no doubt also thanks to the direction – also provided by Dobby – as well as the minimalistic design by Ellena Dobby that gives the cast the space to feel unencumbered. Small visual cues help to provide context to scenes though, such as a confederacy flag draped on a chair in a scene where Lisa introduces her mother to Dave. This scene in particular brings out the more serious side of the play; the titular gap covers a number of divides that are explored, be they social, cultural, generational, or aspirational. In doing this, it elevates the comedy by underpinning it with relevant and thoughtful themes, but The Gap also knows when to let the drama take centre-stage.

Rafiq Richard and Lydia Orange deliver stellar performances as Dave and Lisa, sporting excellent chemistry and a fiery rapport. The supporting cast are also superb, with Rob Pomfret especially bringing a blistering energy to his role as Sean, that kept the audience thoroughly mesmerised. It was a shame that the supporting characters only appeared in a scene or two each, existing only to serve Lisa and Dave’s story instead of carrying journeys of their own, and it would have allowed for greater comedic and thematic opportunity if these characters too had faced obstacles to overcome.

It was pleasantly surprising to see The Gap feel unrestrained by its genre and often dance between comedy and drama seamlessly. It delivers a story that will leave you pondering and beaming in equal measure, and possesses an engaging, intellectual charm that it deserves be a little less modest about.

 

Reviewed by Tom Francis

 

Clapham Fringe 2018

The Gap

Bread & Roses Theatre

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Austen The Musical | ★★★★ | January 2018
Blue Moon | ★★★ | January 2018
F*ckingLifeMate | ★★★★★ | March 2018
Talos II | ★★★ | March 2018
The Buzz | ★★★ | May 2018
Once a Year on Blackpool Sands | ★★★★ | June 2018
Richard II – Shakespeare | ★★ | August 2018
Metamorphosis | ★★★★ | October 2018

 

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Kes – 5 Stars

Kes

Kes

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 4th May 2018

★★★★★

“This is the Jack team doing what they do best and once again producing a diamond”

 

A teenage boy growing up in a northern town discovers a love of falconry when he adopts a young kestrel in Robert Alan Evans’ adaptation of Barry Hine’s A Kestrel for a Knave. Through Kes, young Billy finds an escape from the pressures of everyday life and the looming shadow of a future down the mine.

I’ve long been a fan of the Jack Studio Theatre and always go to their in-house productions with high expectations. I’m happy to say that Kes does not disappoint. It’s a beautiful piece of theatre. Subtle, engaging and deeply touching, director Kate Bannister masterfully creates a rich and detailed portrait of a working class childhood while always staying close to the heart of the story. From the intricacies of the set design (Karl Swinyard) to the detail in the soundscape (Jack Barton), the craft and care that has gone into this production is undeniable and every aspect flows together seamlessly. This is the Jack team doing what they do best and once again producing a diamond.

The cast are equally brilliant giving boisterous and energetic performances. Rob Pomfret populates the play with an array of characters, each one unique and fully realised. He gives charm to each of his creations, allowing sympathy even for the most abhorrent such as bullying big brother Jud and the obnoxious PE teacher. His charisma in his central role, a man jaded by his own heart break and trying to protect the innocence he once had, gives real weight to Billy’s relationship with Kes. Perfectly complementing Pomfret’s gravitas, Simon Stallard fills the space with his enthusiasm and the sheer joy he takes when Billy flies Kes. He’s awkward and goofy and instantly loveable, yet mesmerisingly graceful when he takes Kes to the air.

This is a real treat. Heartfelt and elegant, it is yet further proof that the Brockley Jack is one of the best theatres in London.

 

Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com

Photography by Timothy Stubbs Hughes

 


Kes

Jack Studio Theatre until 19th May

 

 

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