FringeReview UK 2016
The whole cast shine, like the top of the Chrysler Building
The show - nearly three hours - never for a moment seemed it, gripping the audience so tightly the whole audience rose spontaneously to its feet – something I’ve not seen in this theatre. The blend of definitive and new cast members in a recent classic has overwhelming impact.
Character-acting keeps this near-impossible-to-dramatize story a play. Since the film’s different, this charmingly-attempted soufflé of an adaptation might do the best service of all: send people in search of a ninety-page novella, and that’s in large print.
In three hours there’s hardly a missed beat and the title will tease and baffle in its implication long after the end. Brave visionary theatre, it doesn’t require that much from audiences to enthral.
Even on fictive terms this would garner praise for its raw power, its beating passion for justice and humanity. Difficult as it might be not to come away warmed this ensemble – and original musical – make it so very easy. This needs to be everywhere and should be shown if not live, then screened.
Mesmerising, heart-rending concert-cum-narration of a child’s journey through violin lessons to auditioning in Auschwitz, and beyond as told through his eyes.
Refreshing treatment of this enormously affecting musical lies in its British bite working so well with Jenny’s feisty character, and youth generally. BLT and the Craig/Nock team have scored another bull’s-eye which by the end is pretty watery.
"Everything a family show should be"
This is a challenging piece for any company to attempt, but the students at the Brighton Academy of Performing Arts tackle this show with what appears to be great ease. The characters within the story are all brilliantly portrayed by a fantastic cast of principle leads, and a truly exceptional ensemble.
What makes this outstanding is Penhall’s wit and deft charactering of core band and satellites who interact with the complexity of a play, the way the songs move the narrative forward and are given believable geneses. This outstanding musical deserves the awards its original incarnation garnered – and it brings back The Kinks forever sharing the peak of British pop with The Who, The Stones and pre-eminently The Beatles.
"To seek Revenge may lead to Hell"
Gawn Granger carries the memory of greatness and it’s this elusive elixir Archie, consummately but seedily played by Branagh, which stands in for those lost ideals Osborne’s first great character Jimmy Porter grasped at. It’s the toppling of Archie Rice’s own inner idol, or failure to do so, that sends this absorbing production out whistling into the dark.
A consummate delight in this now rarest of forms; a tight song-and-dance of words. New material sizzles, inserted towards the end, the whole box of Bards from Bernard Levin’s Quoting Shakespeare to McKee’s arrangement of Shakespeare lines for a musical lights-out dances on the edge of hilarity before falling headlong into it.
A coming-of-age for Rufus Norris, a wholly credible, cheekily interventionist Threepenny Opera with a few devastating critiques
It beggars belief that on one tiny stage we can be subjected to so many scene stages so expertly handled, so many backdrops and scenery shifts, not to mention a cast of twenty-two who can all sing. This production is good enough for a larger professional stage. If you get a chance, ask for a ticket or return.