Review: Rearranging the Furniture

Lifestyle / Fri 30th Sep 2016 at 06:43am

RearrangingRearrange the Furniture by Thompson Productions
Written ny Andrew Prangnell

At the Victoria Theatre, Old Harlow

PICTURE this. You are a journalist who has been working on politics stories all day. You then go down to the Victoria Theatre to review a play that centres on..local politics and planning applications.

But having grabbed a Merlot and a very comfortable new seat at the Victoria Theatre, this reporter was then treated to a riveting piece of human theatre.

Swift Developments want to get their hands on the Berkley Council estate. The Local Authority wants them to have it.
The only people who don’t are the estate’s residents.

It is described as a story of social and family values but that may make it sound rather stiff. Instead, through excellent writing, acting and direction, it is a warm, funny but also hard hitting play.

Praise has to go to the writer Andrew Prangnell whose script zips along and is matched by his direction that tightly keeps the story moving.

After an introductory film that sets the scene we are introduced to both sides. Jim Thompson’s feckless and frankly corrupt councillor enables us to see that this is not set to be a fair fight. This is underscored when we meet Alan played by Steve Foster. Once again, Steve brings a real sense of Machiavellian menace.

The other side has all the laughs but you can only do that with good actors and a snappy script. The two “double acts” are a real joy and bounce off each other. The street sarcasm of Charlie and Rosie played by Ellie Darby-Prangnell and Molly Jenkins is matched by the ditzy duo of Jane Thompson and Jaki Newman as Barbara and Mary.

It is Kyle Jagger’s Tom and Amy Jagger’s Lesley that bring real gravitas to the play as they fight for the rich to keep their homes. Very natural, very engaging but also convey the fears that people in their situation have.

Each character makes perfect sense. Both Mila from the former Yugoslavia and the reporter Will played by Tony Saxby also bring vital dimensions and depth to the play.

This really was a play for our times and engaged the audience from beginning to end.

But perhaps the best moment was the end. It is not a twist but there is no need to give it away. It made for a perfect end to a near perfect piece of theatre.

Oh and any play that has Sleaford Mods and Tears for Fears in it’s soundtrack is alright by us!

The play is supporting Street2Homes.

Rearranging the Furniture continues on Friday and Saturday.
Go to Victoria Hall website for details.

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