FOLK ON in the Studio of the Everyman, Cheltenham.

Folk On pic crop

” . . . Folk On are Donald Cornfoot, Derek Tinkleberry and Edmund Sidebottom (names, I suspect, that are not their own). This is pastiche folk music – more tongue in cheek than finger in ear. With their broad Gloucestershire accents, beards, open-toed sandals, cloth caps and songs about Morris dancers and baby lambs they make an almost convincing trio. If you imagine The Wurzels without the sophistication or Benny Hill without being chased by mini-skirted, suspender-belt-clad nurses, you’d begin to get the idea. This is The Pentangle with Les Dawson on guitar and Pam Ayres on vocals. . . “

LORRAINE AND ALAN at the Ustinov, Bath


” . . . This was a treat in sophisticated blending of simple elements; actors inventively using a set covered in plastic bottles – the flotsam of our shoreline – used as both set and props. A quick witted, entertaining and purposeful live sound accompaniment added pace, depth and, in places, music to two young and very focused performances by Katie Sherrard and Adam Farrell. I saw in it a fable of lost and lacking opportunities for youth amid the hazards of contemporary life. Concisely told and beautifully revealed. “

RADIANT VERMIN at the Tobacco Factory Brewery, Bristol


” . . . The acting is as sharp as the dialogue, with the two central characters, played with relish by a peart Gemma Whelan and Sean Michael Verey, being given enough fleshly form to avoid being mere ciphers for ideas. Their innocent depravity, unchecked since hatched in a loving and supportive relationship is a joy to see. The party scene with a streetfull. of guests is the work of half an hour packed into five minutes by two virtuoso performances. . . “

ATOMOS at the Oxford Playhouse


“. . . The music was gorgeous – A Winged Victory for the Sullen soundtracked the production with soaring chords. The minimal costuming showed off the range of motion to perfect effect. The simple use of light and colour in the background was effective, although the audience had to wear 3D glasses for a large part of the show to watch video screens dangling above the stage. I think this was meant to make Atomos a multimedia experience, but it felt superfluous – a distracting gimmick . . . . “

Daphne du Maurier’s REBECCA at the Theatre Royal Bath

Rebecca - Imogen Sage (Mrs de Winter) and Tristan Sturrock (Maxim de Winter) - Photo credit Steve Tanner - (ref30)

” . . . Kneehigh brought trademark sideshow moments to the production. Throughout, moods were heightened by some lovely playing on violin, xylophone, mandolin, accordion and double bass, and there were full-throated Cornish sea shanties that gave roots to the drama – After the Soul is Gone, and Hang Boys, Hang interrupting the gloominess of the plot. There was puppetry too, notably Jasper the dog, and a hilarious ‘scratch’- style Charleston danced by the full cast. . . “

TWELVE ANGRY MEN at the Everyman, Cheltenham

Anton Belmonte Photography 4

“. . . Tom Conti is ideally cast in the Henry Fonda/James Stewart type role, his easy going manner soothing the more volatile elements from a cross-section of 1950s New York society. They are all there – the bigot, the young guy from the same side of the tracks as the accused, a couple of besuited and respectable city types and another with anger management issues. It is rare you see such a large ensemble piece with all the links in the chain equally strong . . . ”

BACK DOWN at the Door, Birmingham Rep


“. . . The boys all perform well and have a great rapport between them thus making the friendship believable. Waleed Akhtar gives the best performance, you can sense the ambition that is harboured inside waiting to rise, Lawrence Walker ably portrays the sensitivity of someone who is love-struck and missing his other half and Sam Cole creates a cheeky character that is easily recognisable; however his use of gestures are a little too animated at times to sit comfortably. . . “

ELIZABETH I: Virgin on the Ridiculous at The Tobacco Factory, Bristol


“The two work well together and it shows. As is often the case with such loosely tailored pieces there is much that is self-referential and lots of banter with the audience including a shameless plug for a touted CD. Director, Craig Edwards, has allowed the performers to do their own thing whilst making sure the comedy is not lost in self-indulgence. It’s a cracking recycling of all those little nuggets of Elizabethan history you learned at school.”