Wednesday 08th July

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Darren Beaumont
Darren Beaumont // Photo credit: Tim Stubbs Hughes

Pool @ Jack Studio Theatre

Rating:

Showing until June 7, 2014 // The Write Now Festival

As always, setting the scene is a vital aspect of a visit to The Jack. This time, literally stepping into a Hockney-esque painted ‘pool’ can feel quite disconcerting. The attractive and effective set by David Shields makes full use of Amy Mae Smith’s transcendent lighting; birthing those lovely rippling reflections of sunlight-on-water. Kate Bannister comments that “the designers have done a cracking job…” and likewise the director. The sound-scaping by Mark Webber is exemplary.

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Category: Culture
Howard Colyer photographed by Martin Slidel
Howard Colyer photographed by Martin Slidel

Howard Colyer: Taking Flight

Howard Colyer is a South London based playwright who has enjoyed many stagings of his works on the London fringe and notably at the Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley. I caught up with him in advance of his series of Russian translations to be produced throughout the year.

First on the books is the current production of Bulgakov’s ‘Flight’ which as Howard explains benefits from “a fascinating range of characters… fleeing the Red Army… trying to survive; each scene in a different setting and, as described, a dream-like quality of some of the passages.” Does Colyer identify with the cohort? “Khludov’s marvellous: the mad general with the ghost to talk to. Khludov and his ghost I think make the play. The National did it with an actor… I think it’s better with the ghost conjured by the mind of the audience.” Indeed. To allow the audience to ‘play their part’ is an art in itself. Meanwhile, Howard is more than pleased with his long-running association with the Jack. “Kate Bannister and Karl Swinyard have done a very good job to produce a very good theatre.”

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Category: Culture
Irma Vep
Lord and Lady of the Manor. Photo by Tony Nandi.

The Jack Studio Theatre: The Mystery of Irma Vep

Rating:

Showing until January 4, 2014 at The Jack Studio Theatre

I welcomed the traditional yet cordially open stage as we entered a spacious studio to the strains of Beethoven Seven. The set by Karl Swinyard tended to the naive but lent to an already-established atmosphere attested by a strike of lightning behind frosty French windows. Get the picture?

Hilarious and stupid, ‘Irma Vep’ doesn’t pretend to be great literature though makes much pretence to it. Written by Charles Ludlam in the style of a ‘Penny Dreadful’ its sole purpose seems to be dreadful in every sense; a love-child of ‘Carry On Screaming’ and ‘The Uninvited’ (a dash of ‘Cleo’ and Karloff come later). Miraculously, middle-aged men dressing as stiff Victorian ladies still does the trick: the sight of Lady Enid in a pink frilly nightie fartingly funny. The ultimate two hander, it overdoes every feminine affectation in excruciating detail. And in the two-way-mirror the butch-drag is just as over-accommodated. Jonathan Kemp and William Kempsell delight in outdoing the other although both emerge victorious.

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Category: Comedy