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Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

Producing giant Bill Kenwright, through the aptly named Thriller Theatre Company, brings us a tour of the stage version of this 1938 classic film by Hitchcock. Roy Marsden directs this cast of big names (lots of people from telly, apparently) who navigate a grey and textured stage designed by Morgan Large.

The story concerns the socialite Iris, a sweet and wide-eyed woman travelling back to England to get married, who befriends Ms Froy, a former governess and music teacher. Ms Froy is the lady who vanishes during the journey and the other passengers all seem to be conspiring against Iris, claiming that the woman was never there. All but Max, a charmer who chooses to believe Iris and helps her uncover the mystery. There is the touch of the international and the historical: Charters and Caldicott discuss the cricket in a quintessentially British manner, Sinor Doppo is an Italian magician, and Nazi soldiers patrol the train. With promises of thriller, espionage, coded messages through song, and a train filled with characters and mystery, I was excited to be taken on this journey. Unfortunately, almost everything fell flat. Continue reading Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

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Review: Bleak House@Exeter Northcott

Atmospheric, theatrical, dirty and playful. Artaud and Brecht as a way to explore this episodic novel.

A dark and challenging night of theatre. If that’s what you like, you will be a fan of David Glass Ensemble’s production of Bleak House. What they do, they do very well.

The company of actors in white face paint with exaggerated facial features emerge around the audience, inciting gentle participation and thrusting the story right in our faces. It is expressionistic, visceral and self-aware. Scenes gel into one another, actors transform into different characters in front of our eyes, and the set of two-story scaffolding with removable wooden slabs and vertical steps literally frames the narrative. The whole stage is placed onto a layer of dirt and the costumes indicate the worn-out feel so vividly presented in Charles Dickens’ novel. Continue reading Review: Bleak House@Exeter Northcott

Review: Turn of the Screw @ Exeter Northcott

Turn of the Screw is a play adapted from the 1898 Victorian novel by Henry James, aiming high in its ambition to deliver a thrilling Woman in Black-style experience, but ultimately falling short of its popular stage cousin.

Indeed, the Woman in Black film and play are derived from the character that also features in Turn of the Screw. Having seen Woman in Black a couple of years ago, I had high hopes that this stage adaptation would provide a similarly memorable experience. While the two plays have their similarities, there is a certain tameness in Turn of the Screw, meaning that the play may succeed more for first time viewers of this genre. Continue reading Review: Turn of the Screw @ Exeter Northcott

Review: Rita, Sue & Bob Too @ Exeter Northcott

Rita, Sue & Bob Too, playing at the Northcott theatre, tells the story of Rita (Alyce Liburd) and Sue (Gemma Dobson), two 15-year-old girls living in Bradford in 80’s Britain, who are sexually pursued by an older, married man that they babysit for. The show examines gender relations that seem prevalent in our current #MeToo climate where powerful men take advantage of young women. While the play managed to portray two lovable protagonists, the vital conversations around sexual abuse fell silent. Continue reading Review: Rita, Sue & Bob Too @ Exeter Northcott

Preview: Dolly Alderton @ Exeter Northcott

Hold the phone. The award winning journalist, Sunday Times Style Columnist, co-host of The High Low and all round mega-babe Dolly Alderton is hitting our very own Northcott this March. After a hugely successful run of live dates throughout 2018, the Exeter Alumni returns to her alma mater to celebrate the paperback publication of her bestselling debut Everything I Know About Love. The paperback, which includes a new chapter Everything I Know At Thirty, discusses the surprising realisations and reflections that come with hitting such a milestone. Promising to be an evening full of love and laughter, it’s an event you certainly do not want to miss. Continue reading Preview: Dolly Alderton @ Exeter Northcott

Review: Footlights’ ‘Oklahoma!’ @ Exeter Northcott

Footlights captured the hearts of their audience as their outstanding performance of ‘Oklahoma!’ took over the Northcott theatre in a whirlwind of excitement and bustle on Wednesday afternoon. With over 100 students involved in the cast, band and production team combined, this is Exeter University’s largest theatre production of the year. All their effort in perfecting every minor detail of this show certainly paid off and is absolutely something they should all be proud of.

Continue reading Review: Footlights’ ‘Oklahoma!’ @ Exeter Northcott

Review: EUTCo’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ @ Exeter Northcott

EUTCO’s production of William Golding’s haunting modern classic stormed onto the stage of Northcott theatre this Wednesday night. The excitement surrounding the build-up to this launch left me dying to see India Howland and Will Pinhey’s theatrical take on ‘Lord of the Flies’. They did not disappoint…from their brilliantly choreographed violence to the cast’s impressive acting, this play pulled off a thrilling performance that had the audience constantly hovering on the edge of their seats. The most obvious major alteration of the character genders brought a welcome change, giving a new dynamic to the relation between characters. The provocative power struggle between Rachel and Jack constructs a terrifying representation of human politics as these opposing figures mimic the battle between the genders and political stances. As their fragile order spirals into chaos, the children are left terrified, and we discover how fear can be used to manipulate and corrupt. Continue reading Review: EUTCo’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ @ Exeter Northcott