Sunday, October 06, 2013


Mad Apple Collective at the Secret Sixth Floor Theatre

High above the charity shop and the nail bar, security sit and watch, while we sit and watch them live out their tangled lives.
This is pop-up theatre at its best: site-specific, locally produced.
Katherine Hempstead developed the piece from personal experience, through early one-act versions and workshopping sessions. It's clear the cast – moonlighting Chelmsford Theatre Workshop actors in the main – have worked productively on the characters: the banter and the badinage, the relationships and the resentments are meticulously observed.
Heading up the team at Still Waters, Joe Kennedy's wonderfully irascible Steve, struggling with nicotine patches and an unruly workforce: Anthony [Danny Segeth] Dirty Dancing with his broom, Suzie [Ruth Cramphorn] whose relationship issues are a key plotline, and later, Jason [Ben Fraser], Scots Mike and an unemployed bookseller.
This last character, Will, was superbly done by Dean Hempstead – vaguely bohemian, elbow patches and idealism. He adores Suzie, knowing, as we all do, that she's heading for trouble with her new partner Craig [one of an impressive trio of characters from Bruce Thomson]. It takes a somewhat improbable plot twist [involving Alex Holton's nicely unpleasant hoodied Youth] to open her eyes …
The writing is economical, and often inspired – the riffs on Shades of Brown, the significance of biscuits. There were plenty of laughs, but we cared about the people too. And the scene changes, choreographed to music [Florence and the Machine ?] rightly earned their very own round of applause.

Beneath Still Waters was produced by Danny Segeth  for Mad Apple Collective, Chelmsford Theatre Workshop and High Chelmer Shopping Centre.

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