revue cast 

The Shakespeare Revue

Malvern Theatres

****

THE 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is the perfect opportunity to revive a revue that was originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1993.

 It enables the current production to select the very best material from some of the most talented sketch and song writers over decades and combine them into a programme that is hugely entertaining. It revives a theatrical tradition that has largely transferred to our television screens.

The team of Lizzie Bea, Jordan Lee Davies, Alex Morgan, Alex Scott Fairley and Anna Stolli are multi-talented. They act, they sing and they dance in various styles and in a quick-moving and slick manner, they glide from sketch to sketch with great pace, humour and energy.

Anna Stolli’s powerful operatic voice in the sketch The Heroine of the Opera House Forgot  and her subtle Shakespeare Masterclass with Alex Scott Fairley were hugely entertaining elements in Part One of the programme along with Jordan Lee Davies Giving Notes to the cast of the Welsh amateur dramatic society.

The carnage of Hamlet with its endless death toll was brilliantly satirised in another sketch in Part One. From Ophelia, Laertes and Polonius, to Gertrude, Hamlet, Marcellus, Osric and Fortinbras, the list runs on and on and on. In another The Man who speaks in Anagrams is a challenge to actor and audience to keep pace with the verbal dexterity of the writer.

In Part Two the challenges presented to the Repertory Actor in remembering which night of the week it is and which play they are performing is hilariously illustrated with the confusion of Romeo seeking to woo Lady Macbeth in the Balcony scene with attendant misunderstandings and innuendoes.

In The English Lesson the audience are drawn into participation and sing along in the Old Music Hall style.

All the cast can sing though Lizzie Bea’s voice is at times a trifle shrill. The harmonisations when they sang together were very effective and they can all tap-dance as we discovered near the end.

Nicola Keen‘s choreography was excellent and the whole evening was swept along with clever lyrics and great use of music and song. A few contemporary and local allusions were thrown in for good measure – Trump and Clinton get a brief mention!  The background role of the talented Malcolm McKee as Musical Director and pianist is crucial and combines with lighting effects to provide a light-hearted and humorous experience that is greatly enhanced if you know your Shakespeare!

Whatever our knowledge of the Bard, we are reminded that we are all massively influenced by his creative use of our language and are naturally and habitually using his turns of phrase every day! Throughout the evening there is a sense of respect and admiration for our greatest writer however much we enjoy taking the mick! To 03-09-16.

Tim Crow

30-08-16 

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