Thursday, December 06, 2012


Blitzed at Brentwood Theatre

Joseph Kesselring's classic piece has plenty to say about drama critics, and the "death of the theatre". But it has remained perennially popular since it hit Broadway in 1941.

Blitzed brought it to Brentwood in Wendi Sheard's painstaking production, with an ominously ticking longcase clock, and wallpaper almost worth a character credit in its own right.

The black comedy was well served by two actors in particular – Darren Matthews as the sinister Jonathan, who, while hardly a dead ringer for Karloff, was disturbingly convincing as a man who's had his face reconstructed by a crazy surgeon, played with relish and an uncanny accent by William Wells.

The other Brewster brothers were Neil Gray as the journalist, with some nice one-liners and a great way with puzzlement and panic, and Gary Catlin very watchable as Teddy, charging upstairs, convinced he's President. Excellent support from Iain Attiwell as would-be lodger Gibbs.

Sophie Howlett looked the part – coiffure, couture, cosmetics – as Mortimer's fiancĂ©e, and the two sweet old spinsters with the lethal elderberry wine were Nicola Stacey and Dawn Cooke, very impressive in their funeral garb.

Snappier pace and bigger, bolder performances would have made this three-acter even more enjoyable, but the audience reacted warmly to the macabre mayhem in pre-war Brooklyn.

production photos by Emily Catlin

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