Review: A well-deserved standing ovation for HATS production of Play On

Entertainment / Sat 15th Oct 2022 at 12:07pm

IF you start watching Play On, which is about a theatre group staging a classic murder-mystery, you could be forgiven for taking a little bit of time to get your bearings.

After a couple of minutes, you establish that this is a Harlow theatre group playing an American theatre group who are putting on a classic English murder mystery.

The early part is chaotic and it is supposed to be as cast members, in rehearsal, forget their lines, bicker and move in and out and back into character.

You get the feeling that this is much harder than it looks but it certainly did reap the rewards as the audience loved it.

This reviewer has seen nearly all the HATS performances since 2019 (and enjoyed them all) but has never seen a more enthusiastic response as we witnessed on Friday night.

The audience loved it and there was a standing ovation at the end.

This play critically depended on no weak links in the cast. Everyone had to be on top of their game.

We know that all eleven on stage brought their A game. Once again, Mitchell Walsh was an absolute delight. Mitchell has such exquisite comic timing and is..just..funny.

Chris Millington is always a class act and once again brought that touch of class to the stage. He was ably assisted by Amanda Green.

The same can be said of Dean Bartholomew as Dr Forbes who, easily moves from dastardly villain to sarcastic crew member.

Abbie Martin has also become a key part of a theatre group and proved her value again.

The whole play depended on very tight choreography. So high praise to the Director Michelle Fisher. Actors such as Lee Kenneth as Al Manville and James Perry as Louis Perry had a lot of physical challenges to their roles.

If there was a cameo role that nearly stole the show then Dolleen Howlett as Doris the Maid was a riot. A great theatre cameo is someone who is in the corner of your eye but somehow wonderfully funny and entertaining.

If we had a grumble we wonder if the second half was a little too long. Or maybe this reviewer is getting old!

This was really brave of HATS. Big Fish was ambitious but fairly straight forward. This could have gone terribly wrong but instead was so entertaining and so funny.

Once agains: Hats off to HATS.


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