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Review: Double bill by Moot House Players

Lifestyle / Fri 18th Jul 2014 pm31 12:01pm

Review by Gary Shaw

IN these austere times, value for money is a much welcome commodity. To get value AND a great night of entertainment, is even better. Last weekend the Moot House Players did just that with not one, but two plays, all for a single admission charge. Both were very different pieces, each with a different cast (although Players regular Michael Branwell not only directed the first and appeared in the second, but translated both from their original German into English).

The first play was almost a one man show, with an excellent performance by John Childs. His portrayal of Milan, the title role of the ‘Travelling Man’ was wonderful, and truly great casting. It’s not easy carrying the majority of a performance on your own, but John gripped the audience’s attention like a vice.

He told his life story, that of a wandering Eastern European Gypsy, initially with the one great love of his life, Nadia, and even when she was no longer around, he could still hear her speak to him at times.

I say it was almost a one man show, as John was joined on stage by Carys Sullivan as the Voice of Nadia, the apparition of his former love. Carys seemed to almost react more than act, and had a very visually emotive face to perfectly compliment Milan’s dialogue, with the occasional line which almost appeared as a harmony voice to that of the gypsy.

They were accompanied by the singing and guitar playing of Les Sullivan, gifting our ears with his own original compositions. One sung A Capella was particularly poignant.

We were very fortunate to have the author Veronika Pernthaner in the audience tonight. Who stood and took a curtain call with the others at the end of the performance.

After a short break, we returned for the second feature of the double bill ‘On The Bridge’. This was a very different play, it still retained the emotional depth of its stable mate for the evening, but also had more scope for lighter comedic moments.

This story of two couples, arguing over perceived infidelities, whilst trapped on a bridge that separated the two camps of opposing armies. They were joined by a riddle-obsessed teacher and with a soldier either side of the bridge, each stopping the cast from leaving, due to the always ridiculousness of red tape.

The young talent of the Moot House Players seems to grow and become more impressive each time I see them. The always brilliant trio of Kerry Rowland, Dan Powell and Claire Quley, are now joined by Adam Sabatti, who was superb as Sidney, and apparently we got to witness the first performance of Sebastien Ellson, who did an admirable portrayal of the Colonel.

Fresh from his directorial duties of ‘Travelling Man’, Michael Branwell was very funny as the Teacher, whose continue drifting off into pointless Latin quotation, was a great comedy foil.
Special mention to Michael Rees and Geoffrey Leeds, as the hopelessly jobs-worth bridge guards.
Another great success for the Players. Watch out for their upcoming productions at Moot House in the Stow.

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