Knights make a splendid night of it

Edward James Stokes, as Traci (left), and Steve Parsons (Fitz) are two of the knights in hiding.

Picture: Barry Khan. 

Four Nights in Knaresborough

Hall Green Little Theatre

*****

THERE was one elusive line on the first night – not remotely enough to deprive Jean Wilde's excellent production of the five stars it so richly deserves.

Paul Webb's story of four knights involved in the murder of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, has presence and punch. It has fun and foul language. It has riveting interplay and it rolls without a push through events that happen on four nights in the course of 12 months.

Its language is modern: “You think being a morbid git is a sign of intelligence”, for example. And there's a surprising line about two dogs, four horses and a pig called Colin, guaranteed to charm the birds from the boughs.

The first night also brought a surprise that was unplanned, when a goblet that was on the floor was accidentally kicked, causing it to make low-level tracks for the first row of the studio audience.

Edward James Stokes is Traci, investing his role with a delivery that is easy on the ear – and giving everyone a whale of a time as he demonstrates his struggles with constipation and his delight on eventually conquering it.

LOOSE CANNON

Steve Parsons (Fitz) is a bit of a loner, the toughest of the group, involved late-on in a dramatic confrontation with Oliver Harvey-Vallender, as Brito. Brito is the loose cannon and irritant of the foursome, foul of mouth and full of unpredictability. In his more manic moments, his flashing teeth and wild eyes are remarkable reminders of the regrettable Russell Brand.

Ara Sotoudeh (Morville, something of a loner), is charged early on with the responsibility of relating the story of the knights and their background. The assurance with which he accomplishes this provides the production with the solid foundation on which it builds so confidently.

To this rough and ready group arrives a woman, Catherine. She is a landowner who has abandoned her wealth to be with the knights, and Kate Campbell plays her with enigmatic assurance – even when she is required to deploy an outsize pair of pliers in the cause of emergency dentistry while Oliver Harvey-Vallender provides the persuasive sound effects.

Sami Moghraby is the ill-starred Becket (and a visitor), John Bourbonneux turns up as Wigmore, and Connie Jordan and Bradley Bourke are sharing the role of the young boy.

This is a talented team and it ensures an absorbing production.

To 6-11-10

John Slim 

Box Office : 0121 707 1874    On-line booking http://www.hglt.org.uk/    

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