A moving set creating prison walls, high barricades and bordellos, pubs and tenement houses.
That combined with lighting allowed each scene to come to light.One critical point of note was the sound, though very truly poignant and appropriate for each use, there was no fade or easement meaning the music and sound started and ended abruptly. This, though related to the brechtian style of distancing highlighted by the projected dates, left me feeling as an engaged member of the audience, uncomfortably distanced.A There didn't seem to be a chorus, so well blent were the characters, so well developed. The most fulfilling moments were the group scenes where all of the characters were active, responding and reacting to what's being said. It really made the entire thing come alive and added depth and sincerity.This said, there were times when the dialogue was masked by noise levels and parts of the bar scene were incredibly hard to focus on.
Noise levels add effect when they are done effectively, this was clear during the scene outside Javerts office whilst Fantine begs for her life, a real moment of choral unity.Mention must be made to Chris Smith (Javert) who portrayed the journey of a rigid man of the law, a justicial absolutist, question and compromise his before black and white view of the world and humanity only to lead himself into the water to drown.
A stunning performance.Nick Mitchell-Briggs, a man of gentle words and tempered timing masterfully played Jean Valjean, handled the variation of anger, sorrow, pride and pity to a fully embodied state. Very convincing.Misery comes in many shapes and sizes, sometimes we feel it and sometimes we cause it. An utterly detestable couple of cut purses, in their own ways victims of their time, their generation, their society, propogators of the curses that their children would soon be living. A point of fixation from the audience, young Daniel plays the stage like an instrument and it is startlingly clear that he not only knows his words, he understands them. If this young man sticks with this field, tries hard and doesn't let the praise go to his head (I'm sure it won't) he has great things ahead of him.A Funnily enough, the second mention is related to the first, are you seeing a pattern emerging?
Ellie Smith brought a reality to Eponine Thenardier that was refreshing and touching to witness. The love bitten teenager who followed her idol of fancy onto the battlefield and met her end at the edge of a political bullet, dying in her loves arms.
So I will, a little.A What would Les Mis be without the men who fought against misery with anger, the young rebel students of Paris lead by Enjolras (Hallam Britten), and how lead they were.
These young men of the company spoke intelligently and reflected an anger felt by many in the recent student protests, it was relevant and wholly deserving of praise.A This play has many characters and actors (young and old) who deserve a mention, the tragic demise of Fantine (Becky Kinghorn) was beautifully executed and her daughter played by both Miranda Smith (ANOTHER ONE?!) and Anna Gent, were simply a pleasure to watch as they travelled through this cavalcade of a play.
The spinsters and nuns were a particular favourite a good mix of nails out catcalls and muttering gossip. This kind of dedication shows a level of hands-on attitude that is not to be messed with even in professional theatre. It was a joy to witness.A To conclude, I feel it is too easy to label this group as an amateur dramatic society, too easy to see 'community' before thinking 'quality'. To call this group and everyone in it; their last, their least, their littlest, part of an amateur company is an insult.
This is theatre at it's best, a family with many surnames coming together through trials and tragedies to make something out of the ordinary, something exciting, something new. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance and will make more effort to see more, I am always impressed.A A 'A brilliant performance!
I enjoyed it more than the film version and now the story makes sense!''A Thoroughly enjoyed the show! Well done!A This was an exceptional production, fantastic lights and music, simple but brilliantly effective staging and innovative video projection to link the storyline together. This was an energetic, funny but moving play about a team of ladies taking part in the London MoonWalk to raise awareness of breast cancer.
We feel so proud to have been part of the experience and to have raised so much for our chosen charitiesa€™. A In the spirit of the play PVADS raised money from ticket sales, champagne raffles and donations to give to charity. Although all the figures have not yet been finalised I can confirm the Cheshire Cats will be donating over A?500 to charity! It was so well acted, visually exciting and had enough energy to light Pewsey on a dull day!
Inspired by the play and having run the race for life a few years ago i thought (at the risk of quoting Maggie) i could lose some baby weight and raise some money at the same timeA "A Taking part in the Cheshire Cats has been an amazing experience and will be a memory I will cherish forever. I feel honoured and priviledged to have had the opportunity to work with some very talented people and you have all taught me so much ! PVADS is an amazing group to be a part of and I am really thankful that I came along for that audition.
The best thing about this whole journey is the self confidence it has given me , oh and I have learnt how to act like a 'Cougar' all I can say now is 'Watch out all you PVADS lads' grrrrrrroowwwlll!How about it folks?
The most fulfilling moments were the group scenes where all of the characters were active, responding and reacting to what's being said. This is theatre at it's best, a family with many surnames coming together through trials and tragedies to make something out of the ordinary, something exciting, something new. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance and will make more effort to see more, I am always impressed.A A 'A brilliant performance! I enjoyed it more than the film version and now the story makes sense!''A Thoroughly enjoyed the show! Audiences were treated to magical, fantastical, energetic performances over three nights and showed their appreciation by loud laughter, applause and standing ovations. Sensitively and naturalistically directed, the actors made this completely accessible to our audiences. The set was simple but very effective - 4 huge neolithic stones, 2 advertising banners and centre sacrificial stones used as a platform.
Andy Vowles as Duke Theseus did a plausible impression of a baby boomers rock star and his screaming fans made the opening full of noise and vibrancy.
Avril Allsop also showed she was no shrinking violet and made the most of her small role as Hippoltya .
It is sometimes hard to know why Helena, played by Kate Powell, actually loves him so much. But Kate brought just enough humour and pathos to her besotted love that it showed that even she didn't quite understand the vaguries of her heart either! A very strong performance from Kate made all the more remarkable by her short (3 day) rehearsal time. Our first glimpse of the mechanicals introduced a motley team of hapless stage hands who couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery. The visually funny physicality of the team - 5 large men and the smallest mouse of a boy - only hinted at the riotous hilarity to follow.The transformation scene from Stonehenge to enchanted forest, orchestrated by Puck was indeed magical. Oberon's fairies, played by Cherry Mawby, Sarah Devine, Anna Gent, Coutney Clark and Hannah Jeffries - were absolutely key in creating atmosphere and drama throughout the play through their constant focus and otherworldly movement - always watching - at times quite sinister but then free and wild!We were then treated to some fantastic violent verbal sparring from Emma Preuss as Titania - there was no doubt that she and Oberon had strong forces at work between them, both anger and a overpowering physical relationship. I must commend Jai Little on his 1st stage appearence - he managed to keep his focus during the sizzling arguments and shouting between his dad, Darren little, and his stagemum Titania!
Puck transforms Bottom, played by Martin Turner, into a donkey who Titania immediately falls in love with.
I have seen this performed in many ways, portraying Bottom completely comically or just as a sexual object - but Martin brought a subtlety to his performance that was just perfect and was complimented by a convincingly lustful Titania and horrified fairies!The scene where the lovers are in total confusion - with the help or should I say hindrance of Puck's magic potion, Lysander and Demetrius now love Helena and Hermia is spurned by all of them - tends to be the hardest of all to play. Many adaptations use a mixture of overt comedy and farce to show how ridiculous love can be.
Nettie chose to bring real emotions to the lovers - the confusion, anger and bewilderment of the girls was believable and the conflict between the boys kept the pace fast moving.
We were treated to some excellent team work from the four lovers and the scene ended with a heart-rending song from Hermia which left the audience in tears at the interval!The subtle use of music throughout the play helped set the mood of each scene, almost like a film score, however it was the beautifully choreographed fight and flight scene in the woods with the lovers that deserves particular mention - as does some of the quirky musical introductions to the mechanicals, from awful off key sound track of Madness to heavy rock ballad of Nazereth.But really the mechanicals needed no introduction!
Dan Eyles as Snout, the wall looked hilarious in his 'homemade' wall out of beer, pizza and coke boxes and somehow managed to pull the most exquisitely funny facial expressions with his head in a wine box! Then we had too opposites in both age, stature and experience both vying to steal the show with their performances.
Paul Hornbogen played Starveling the moon- a man of few words - but with the aid of a lantern, a dog lead and long history of comedy acting behind him managed to bring so much humour to his role in such a minimalistic way.
Daniel Smith as Snug the lion , one of our youngest actors, held his own throughout the play - he observed, listened, copied the great actors he was playing against and then added his own little bit of magic - a promising comedian for the future.In summary - this was a fantastic production, visually, emotionally, dramatically - put on by a well rehearsed, well directed, well supported team of actors.
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