Chelmsford Theatre Workshop at the Old Court
Jim Hutchon was immersed in the 80s Disco scene ...
Co-directors Catherine Kenton and Jenny Almond went for a mainly hilarious take on this 80s comment on night life. Four men took on more than twenty parts, as bouncers, then giggling girls preparing for a night on the pull, then blokes downing 14 pints to pluck up the courage to get to the disco and get some flesh.
John Mabey was Judd, with the intellect of a “painted-on brain” , James Christie was Les, a Glaswegian with clearly a penchant for meaningless violence, Barrie Taylor was Ralph, most in touch with his feminine side, though he exuded a hidden menace. Elder of the tribe, was David Hawkes, as Lucky Eric, who had seen it all and, in a speech which, for me, was the high point of the drama, extolled the sadness behind the façade. The setting was an ‘in the round’ disco complete with blinding lights and thundering sound.
This was totally immersive theatre, with the pace and volume being forced upwards as the overworked four slipped seamlessly between bouncers and flouncers and punters and hunters. As the volume reached the threshold of pain, the audience were shot from their seats onto the dance floor in a whirling melange of colour.
Of all the many versions of this play that I have seen, I really felt, for the first time, that they had nailed it.