'The Shakespeare Revue'
devised by Christopher Luscombe and Malcolm
Directed by: Richard Parish
Musical Direction by: Gill Parish
Musical Numbers staged by: Sandra Donoghue
Lighting by: Alex Lyon
Cast: Maggie Lilley, Richard Parish, Karen Sahlsberg and David Webb with Gill Parish at the piano.
For a direct link to the GALLERY of PHOTOGRAPHS of this production CLICK:
The Shakespeare Revue
REVIEW OF 'THE SHAKESPEARE REVUE' at RIVERHOUSE,
WALTON-ON-THAMES BY COLIN DOLLEY (G.O.D.A)
Revue is now a rarity on the London stage; yet fifty years ago it was a hugely popular part of the West End theatre scene. One recent production which rekindled interest in that entertaining theatrical form was THE SHAKESPEARE REVUE, which was given a sparkling revival by the Lighted Fools Company. Originally staged by the RSC in 1994 it includes a wide eclectic mix of material ranging from J B Priestley to Victoria Wood, linked, sometimes very loosely, with the Shakespeare theme all in a variety of styles. It demands versatility, energy and polish and these qualities were hallmarks of this production under the direction of Richard Parish. With 36 items which included song and dance and token costume changes, the production might have become tediously episodic but that was not the case here as the piece moved slickly through the programme with barely a hitch. The four talented performers played well together in the concerted numbers but complemented each other in their solo numbers. Above all they really communicated with the audience which made for such an enjoyable evening. With so many items there are bound to be some which work better than others but the joy of Revue is that, like London buses, if one is missed, there will be another one along very shortly. My favourites included Maggie Lilley playing the ageing grande dame singing 'Which Witch', Richard Parish giving us the failed actor's 'The Night I Played Macbeth', Karen Sahlsberg's Lady Macbeth being seduced by Romeo, and the immensely versatile David Webb in almost everything he did but particularly his novice actor rendition of 'I'm in the RSC!' There was neat choreography and the musical items, including such great numbers as 'Brush Up Your Shakespeare' and 'Let's Do It' were delivered with infectious relish. The players had been well-drilled by their musical director Gill Parish, whose sensitive piano accompaniment added greatly to the evening. In spite of the restricted space at the Riverhouse Barn the production had plenty of movement. It was interesting that the piece that worked least well was the extract from Just William where all four players sat and read from their books. This appeared in the second half which, as a whole, perhaps needed a shade more invention to give the revue a less predictable shape. But this is a minor quibble. All's well that ended as we liked it. .The Shakespeare Revue was bright, stimulating, stylish, entertaining and fun, a dream of a production for a midsummer night!!
REVIEW OF 'THE SHAKESPEARE REVUE' at CRANLEIGH ARTS
CENTRE BY JAMES WOOD
Oh joyful day! Revue is back with us; that delightful witty, topical and tuneful genre of entertainment that filled so many London theatres in the middle of the last century, sending audiences home happy and laughing, but alas recently grown out of fashion. Until, that is, the multi-talented Lighted Fools Theatre Company presented 'The Shakespeare Revue' at the Cranleigh Arts Centre last week. This revue was devised by Christopher Luscombe and Malcolm McKee for the Royal Shakespeare Company nearly ten years ago, drawing on the work of dozens of authors and wits who have been inspired by the Bard over the last hundred years or so. Brought up to date now by Lighted Fools, the audience was treated to an evening of pure delight, enjoying over thirty items taken at a cracking pace in the ninety minutes of playing. There are but five in the cast, and they never leave the stage. Leading the team as both director and player, was Richard Parish, supported by Gill Parish, musical director and accompanying pianist. The other players were Maggie Lilley, Karen Sahlsberg and David Webb. It would be quite invidious to single out any one of them, for they all had splendid individual numbers and yet worked wonderfully as an ensemble, an essential ingredient for this type of show. However, I must confess that my favourite was 'The English Lesson' from 'Henry V' which was turned into a roisterous audience-participation song. If I may be permitted a quote from 'Hamlet' - 'a hit, a very palpable hit'!
COMMENTS FROM OUR AUDIENCE ON 'THE SHAKESPEARE REVUE'Firstly let us congratulate you on last night's 'Shakespeare Revue'. We haven't had so much fun for a long time. The acting was superb and of course the music was brilliant, delivered with such panache and aplomb.