Review: Four Farces, Wilton’s Music Hall

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We tend to have a rather stilted view of Victorian theatre – high tragedy at the top end, bawdy music hall at the other, with maybe a smattering of Gilbert and Sullivan in between. So this presentation of four short one-act farces is welcome. Often performed as a prelude to more serious fare, an evening of comic vignettes highlights the delights – and the occasional drawbacks – of the form.

John Maddison Morton’s Box and Cox, in which a day worker and night worker discover that their crafty landlady has rented them the same apartment, figuring their work patterns would never meet, has a great setup. Asta Parry’s Mrs Bouncer is a slight role – little more than a Victorian Mrs Overall – but Parry fills in the blanks well. In contrast, the principals (Richard Latham and John O’Connor) don’t quite connect, with the unfortunate result that the main conceit – one which in its day was popular enough to inspire political cartoons – ends up giving the impression that the whole evening could be an adventure in misguided revivalism.

Thankfully, the second play, Wanted, A Young Lady, starts to pick up. While one gets the impression that Latham’s simple manservant, Simon, is somewhat older than the original script may have intended, O’Connor begins to come alive as the ne’er-do-well man who poses first as his more tolerable brother, then his own grandmother, in pursuit of a young woman. Again, it is Parry who outshines the two men.

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Review: Four Farces, Wilton’s Music Hall3Scott Matthewman2013-06-22 15:03:59We tend to have a rather stilted view of Victorian theatre – high tragedy at the top end, bawdy music hall at the other, with maybe a smattering of …

The Union ♥ Wilton’s aftershow party

While we’re on the subject of photoshoots, exactly a week prior to seeing Children of Eden, I was fulfilling a similar function at The Union ♥ Wilton’s, a showcase of numbers from The Union Theatre’s recent repertoire of musicals, performed at (and in aid of) Wilton’s Music Hall in East London. Wilton’s has a unique atmosphere (and I don’t mean in that musty, damp way that the Union itself had) – it’s a genuinely beautiful, character-filled space which also lends a unique acoustic air to shows that are put on there. Unfortunately it is literally falling apart at the seams, and after being turned down for Lottery funding its present Capital Fund is struggling to maintain the building in its current state, let alone perform the repairs that can ensure this magnificent space can be savoured for generations to come.

It was a beautiful evening of theatre, and I’d like to thank the organisers of the evening for the invitation to share it with them.

To find out more about Wilton’s and its Capital project, go to www.wiltons.org.uk.

A Very Musical Evening, Wilton’s Music Hall

It’s a sobering thought, but every 24 hours in Britain, another six young people are diagnosed with cancer. Teenage Cancer Trust is working to provide dedicated units within hospitals to provide specialist support for young people and their families.

Anthony Drewe, one half of Honk! and Mary Poppins writing duo Stiles and Drewe, will at the end of October embark on a gruelling trek through the Himalayas to raise much needed funds for the charity (you can donate at his JustGiving page). And for the same charity, he and Elliot Davis (who will also be trekking) put on Sunday night’s fund-raising concert.

And it was a superb, unique evening that it was an intense privilege to attend.

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