theater: All New People

February 20, 2012

Friday 17th Feb, R&L took us to the Theater :-)

All New People” was written, directed and currently starring Zach Braff (the bloke from Scrubs) and has become the highest-grossing drama of all time at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow.

It’s the dead of winter and the summer vacation getaway of Long Beach, New Jersey is desolate and blanketed in snow. Charlie is 35, heartbroken and just wants some time away from the rest of the world. The island ghost town seems to be the perfect escape until his solitude is interrupted by a motley parade of misfits who show up and change his plans. A hired beauty, the townie fireman and an eccentric British real estate agent desperately trying to stay in the country suddenly find themselves tangled together in a beach house where the mood is anything but sunny.

This angst-fuelled comedy opens with Charlie (Zach) about to kill himself.  This leaves him with the first of many dilemmas, how to put out your last cigaret when you are standing on a chair with a noose around your neck.

“Unfortunately” he is interrupted when Emma (Eve Myles from Torchwood) an absent minded real estate agent comes in expecting the place to be empty and ready for a viewing she has.  While Charlie tries to get rid of the talkative Emma she is joined by her firefighter buddy Myron (Paul Hilton) to come assess the situation. Later on, the high-priced escort Kim (Susannah Fielding) arrives, courtesy of one of Charlie’s friends.

While they try to talk Charlie out of killing himself we gradually find out more about each of them both through the action on stage and four video flash-backs which fill in some back story about them.

I thought this use of video was really clever, not only the way it was done technically but also because it gave us close ups of the actors on stage giving another dimension to what was going on as well as asking more questions and answering some.  It was a very clever way to intersperse the live action with plot details which otherwise would be very cumbersome to interject.

The play was extremely funny in parts and didn’t lag or slow down at any point.  The performances were excellent and the technical production flawless (apart from one light that fell down back stage at one point).  A great night out.

All New People following its showings in Manchester and Glasgow is now on at the Duke of York Theater until April.

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theatre review: Valhalla at The Tron

July 10, 2010

It was after one of those “what do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” conversations that I started googling for what was on at the Theatres on the off chance, and saw something called Valhalla at The Tron (a theater I’ve never been to).  All the info we had to go on was…

“As camp as Carry On, as outrageously funny as Cooking with Elvis, as historically accurate as Blackadder, the Tron Theatre Company invites you to enter the glittering halls of Valhalla this summer. Cast includes Johnny McKnight and Joyce Falconer”

Not much to go on, but the tickets weren’t too much, so worth a punt.  Also since we had an hour and a half to get there just time to squeeze in a pre-theatre meal if only I could get parked in the busy Merchant City area.  I got parked right outside Maggie Mays, we had a fabulious (quick) meal there and crossed Argyle Street to The Tron, all very handy.

Valhalla, has a difficult to describe plot which follows two different characters Ludwig, prince of 19th century Bavaria and James Avery a cowboy in 1940’s Texas. It follows them growing up, discovering their sexuality (sort of) until the camp prince becomes a camp King and James and his friend get called up for world war II.  As the 19th century king grows in his obsession with Wagnerian opera and a love for building fairytale castles, the two soldiers parachute into Europe and eventually discover the greatest folly that the king built centuries before – Valhalla.

However, none of the actual plot really matters much because of the pace at which the one liners and visual jokes take place the show doesn’t give you a chance to think about actual plot too much.  Just before going in we saw a warning about the language, content and ‘some nudity’ but by then it was too late to find out more so we went for it (and I’m glad we did).  The content that people may be offended by is very brief full frontal male nudity and the homosexual storyline.  However you may also be offended by hump-backed princesses, southern Baptist preachers, opera or sea-men jokes.

The production is very good with a stage extending into the audience, ‘stage hands’ stumbling into view, very clever usage of set and lighting to switch between the time periods and locations where the action was taking place.  But ultimately this show is all about the laughs which were so fast flowing I felt I was constantly laughing through the whole show.  If anything detracted from the overall experience I though the climax was a little weak, but hey I’ve got to pick something not to praise.

Valhalla is playing at The Tron till 24 July 2010.