The Dyad productions “I, Elizabeth” was a short, one act play – one hour fifteen minutes. It was however one of the best one and a quarter hours that I have spent in the theatre for a very long time. Rebecca Vaughan’s performance as Elizabeth was truly wonderful – a lesson in acting. The costume was perfect and what little furniture there was, a chair and a table were all that was needed. There is not a lot more that can be said really as it was impossible to find anything about this performance that wasn’t superb. Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing it to the Garrick. More of the same please.
What a surprise! In the past I have often been disappointed with travelling companies who are with us for only one night – but not on Wednesday! Everything about “Irelands Call” was brilliant. The singing was excellent, the acting matched it and the dancing was electrifying. The costumes were bright and looked as if they had never been worn before. How they managed the logistics of that I don’t know as one look at their punishing tour schedule was enough to frighten even the hardest old touring actors around. It is no secret that I am not a lover of musicals but I really did not want this one to end, although to be fair, I think it was really a play with lots of music and Irish dancing, in much the same way as Willy Russell’s “Blood Brothers” is often wrongly referred to as a musical. The whole evening was pure pleasure; thank you to everyone connected with this superb production. On the down side I would like to have known if the two lovers did in fact get back together, perhaps it is better left for us to decide. Also it would have been nice if we could have had a live band rather that a lot of canned music to support the excellent musicians that we did have but with around sixteen in the cast I don’t think the company can be blamed for this as it would probably have meant that the whole thing would have been too expensive to stage. It did make me think about Irish dancing; is it a form of tap, not really, what about ballet? not really. I came to the conclusion that the tremendous drumming sounds that we got from the fast and intricately moving feet was that this was a form of foot drum music. You will gather from this that Joan and I really liked it. Thank you to our Irish friends. We will certainly keep an eye on the brochure so that we can get early tickets when you return, as you surely will if there is any justice. Finally, there did not appear to be an empty seat in the house – just as it should be.
Saturday evening in Lichfield – what to do? Decided to look in on one of the new Garrick Introducing performances, with no idea what to expect. Could be good, could be bad, could be anything, but worth a risk, especially with the Friends 10% discount meaning entrance was only £10.
What a good decision as the play, ‘The Enduring Romance of Cathy and Heathcliff’ was excellent, and we had a great evening. It was good to see the Studio so well attended adding to the atmosphere. The acting was first class, with Christopher Smart excelling in the devoted but not the ‘ideal Heathcliff’ role and Rebecca Newman bringing both humour and melancholy to her search for fictional perfection. Rebecca also wrote the play (her first I heard) and deserves extra praise as the dialogue was witty, thoughtful and entertaining leading to an unexpected story ending. An interesting set (glad I didn’t have to clean up) and the soundtrack nicely set up the chronological framework.
Well done to the Garrick for its new venture encouraging young talent, but most thanks to Rebecca for a great evening. A talented writer with, I think, a great career in front of her.
John Godber’s play “September in the Rain” is always a joy to watch; especially if you are of a certain age and can remember the typical seaside boarding houses that we all endured in the name of enjoying our week away in the years after the last war. The Garrick Reps production, directed by Gareth Tudor Price was without a shadow of a doubt the best production I have ever seen. The set, designed by John Brooking, was perfect. It really conveyed all that we needed to know about the plays location as soon as we entered the theatre. The performances by David Lonsdale and Sarah Jane Buckley were an absolute delight; faultless would be an appropriate description. Miss Buckley’s ability to show us several characters of all ages was excellent, as was David Lonsdale’s portrayal of a down to earth hard working Yorkshire miner. We were also privileged to have John Godber in the audience. I can only hope that he was as happy with the production as the audience were. Once again Tom Roberts and the Garrick Rep team have triumphed and proved that in house productions can give the audience and evening of brilliant theatre. If you missed this one you really did miss a great show.
What a privilege it was to see this play! The cast, Robert Gwilym, Paul Opacic and Joanna Higson were faultless throughout, and Michael Lunney’s direction could not be faulted. Neither could his designing talent. As soon as the curtain opened the audience knew exactly what period they were in and the use of the cut-away walls made the whole set work brilliantly. I am always bothered by detail; but not this time. Even the clock above the fire place was perfectly correct. The street scene that was above the main set told us everything we needed, particularly the slightly battered 1965 (C) registered Mini Van told us that it must be in the seventies especially with a Lada parked a little way down the street; (as I remember they were nearly always parked; they didn’t go very well!). Of course we had references in the dialogue that kept us informed as well; Barlow and Watts, Z cars, with Watts being played by Frank Windsor who was born and bred in Walsall and attended Queen Mary’s Grammar School.
The music also was well chosen with the Carpenters creating a touch of nostalgia for many of us. The whole play was really about revenge and lies and I am sure that was the main reason that above the door we had a picture of the crucifixion of Jesus, the worst case of lies and revenge the world has ever known, and it did not go unnoticed that eyes were often focused on the painting when certain lines were delivered. I know that it is a great advantage to have such a brilliantly written and structured script to work with but to present a play of this quality still demands a great deal of talent. I hope everyone who saw this production enjoyed it as much as Joan and I did. To Michael Lunney and his company, congratulations and thank you.
Doing what they do best, being very funny Jim Davidson and Richard Digance. Jim with all of his observations on life and Richard with his amazing humorous verse and funny stories.
Both of them at different times Richard, during the interval and Jim after the show said how nice it was to be back at the theatre and how good the audiences always are in Lichfield and both said how much they look forward to the next time.
Garrick friends committee member John Ford catches up with an old friend he hasn’t seen for fourteen years.
When Dominic Kirwan brought his 25 years in the business celebration shows to the Lichfield Garrick Theatre.
Packed with all his hits this very special show saw Dominic at his very best. In his comments after the show he said what a “fabulous theatre” and how professional all the staff were and how much he looked forward to the next time.
When a consummate artist portrays a music legend to the n’th degree to a point in the show where you and the rest of the audience believe they are seeing and hearing the original artist well Barry Steele did just this with his very unique voice sounding and singing in exactly the same way Roy Orbison performed.
During the sixties I was lucky enough to see and hear the ‘man in black’ himself and these days seeing and hearing Barry Steele makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and when you leave the Theatre you really do think you have seen and heard that ‘man in black’ who wears the sunglasses whilst singing all his hits.
My cousin and I saw the recent production of ‘Opera Romance in January ’14.
I feel I must write to say how much we enjoyed this very enlightening concert, especially as it was a present to celebrate my cousin’s birthday.
The music was good and well known to the audience. The setting created an atmosphere of an Edwardian evening in a large country house. (Maybe a few more props on stage would have added to the set).
The Presenter introduced the programme with humorous verse, which captured the attention of the audience. The four soloist singers were very pleasing to listen to and interpreted the music with feeling, as did the brilliance of the female pianist who accompanied them. It was a pity that more members of the public did not experience this delightful concert.
We are sure that similar productions using music from musical comedies and operettas would also be equally successful and enjoyed by future audiences.