Humble Boy - Evening Sentinel 12/05/10
|Improbable Fiction - Sentinel - 14/05/09|
|Theatre Review: Humble Boy, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. Evening Sentinel 12/05/10 |
ON TUESDAY night the MET studio at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre was filled with a chattering audience, anticipating the first performance of Stafford Players' Humble Boy.
The action takes place entirely within the back garden of the Humble house, which was represented with a beautiful set, complete with flagstones and real plants.
The play tells the story of socially inept Felix Humble (David Harfield)who returns to his home in the countryside after hearing that his father has died. When he gets home, Felix discovers that his mother, Flora Humble (Cecile Harrison) has given away all of his father's belongings, including his bees.
Tensions rise further as Flora is embarrassed that Felix ran away when it was his turn to speak at his father's funeral. His childhood stutter has returned, which Flora believes is just to annoy her.
As the summer continues, Felix discovers that his mother has been having an affair with the foul-mouthed George Pye (Mike Harrison), and finds that the gardener Jim(Ray Braziel) is the only person he can really talk to.
The cast really brought their characters to life, making it possible to truly care about their lives. But Voirrey Stewart stole the show as Mercy Lott, Flora's friend by geography rather than choice.
Her eccentric kindness to everyone kept the audience smiling throughout, but when she said Grace to the Lord, "even though we are not on speaking terms", she had them laughing helplessly out loud.
The small performance space and close proximity of the actors created a much more realistic atmosphere. When Felix's ex-girlfriend Rosie Pye (Rachael Shaw) slapped him across the face, you could almost feel it.
A couple of times the Players stumbled over their lines, and George and Flora's smoking in act two does not seem to fit into the performance, but despite these points the show was excellent.
Humble Boy is both touching and funny in turn, with a really unexpected twist at the end. This is a definite must-see
Humble Boy is on at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre at 7.30pm until May 15. Tel 01785 254 653
Review: I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Thursday, November 05, 2009, 08:00
I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire Stafford Gatehouse
THE Swynnerton Roses, the women who took on the roles of munitions workers during World War Two, are so often forgotten. At Stafford's Gatehouse Theatre, 70 years after the outbreak of war, local amateur dramatics society the Stafford Players are paying tribute to these unsung heroines.
Musical I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire spans the war, focusing on the lives of the women drafted in from Staffordshire and beyond to produce ammunition.With outstanding performances from Gemma Stubbs, as Lily, and Jack Powell, as Bernhard, the cast performed songs of the period which had the audience tapping their toes throughout.
But the opening night wasn't without a hiccup or two – although sound effects were first-rate, some actors could barely be heard and lighting was rather hit and miss.The audience also seemed to spend a lot of time waiting for something to happen.The stories of the characters aren't the strongest, but it seems a meaty plot isn't the point here.
For many who experienced the war, including one audience member who was actually a Swynnerton Rose herself, the production was a fitting tribute that evoked many memories.And for those who weren't around, it was a timely reminder of what so many sacrificed for us all.
I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire continues until tomorrow. For details, call 01785 254653.
Claire Walker. Evening Sentinel
Humble Boy. Your Thurrock July 28th 2010
Click on this link to read review and see the video clip of Humble Boy at the British All Winners Festival July 2010