Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chelmsford Theatre Workshop at the Old Court

A week to go till Red Nose Day itself, but the Old Court is packed with fans and friends for three episodes from the penultimate series.
Director Dean Hempstead had chosen Ink and Incapability – the one about Dr Johnson's dictionary – Nob and Nobility – the one about the Scarlet Pimple – and Sense and Senility – the one with the actors and the anarchist. Had they been writing last week, Messrs Curtis and Elton might well have titled it The Prince Regent's Speech.
For we're in the Regency – the palace interior done up to match the new d├ęcor in the auditorium. Vivaldi joining Howard Goodall on the soundtrack, three marvellous Romantic poets, and best of all, the Prince George himself, a man “with all the wit and sophistication of a donkey”, obsessed with trousers, given a wonderful characterization by Kevin Stemp. I couldn't help being reminded of another idle scrounger scion of the royal line, the one who allegedly tells his 'Blackadder' to F*** Off every morning as he draws the royal curtains.
At the heart of the play, the relationship between Edmund and his sidekick, roles played again this time out by David Chilvers – not so “rubberfaced” as the original, but suaver and timing his laughs with consummate skill, and the comic genius Mark Preston.
A couple of guest appearances added to the gaiety of nations – Mike Nower as the Drury Lane thesp Keanrick, and Hempstead himself as the luddite Anarchist.
this production runs from March 15th to the 19th at The Old Court - ring 01245 606505 to check availability ...

Jim Hutchon saw the show for the Chelmsford Weekly News:
There is a feeling among the audience at the start that we have been catapulted into the strange world of television. The characters are familiar and straight from the TV series, and the actors, especially David Chilvers as Blackadder and Mark Preston as Baldrick, stay superbly in character from the opening scenes.

That said, it quickly becomes apparent that a live stage play can take liberties that a TV series can’t, and the extra dimension adds enormously to the sheer fun and enjoyment of Dean Hempstead’s masterly production.
Kevin Stemp as the peanut-brained Prince George harrumphed his deluded way through the action, and his trousers really stopped the show. Another show stopper was Tony Ellis in an evocation of the effects of poison that was pure slapstick.
It says much for CTW’s depth of talent that even minor roles played by the group’s heavyweights are given added impetus. Actors such as Steve Parr as a marvellously convincing Dr. Johnson, Mike Nower acting as an effete Restoration actor and Robin Winder as a greasy Frenchie make this a genuinely enjoyable evening.
This is CTW’s contribution to Comic Relief, where the aim is to beat their previous Blackadder’s contribution of £2,000.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again CTW have put their hearts and souls into a production that showcases the genuine talent of all and highlights the comic abilitiies of the participants. As usual even the minor roles were played superbly and Tony Ellis (among others) has to be congratulated for rightfully receiving a nightly round of applause for a death scene that can only be described as literally staggeringly funny. Well done yet again CTW. Ceila Amstruther.

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