Review: The Removal Service

The Removal Service is a visceral debut play from Will Pattle and Alice Briganti but one which doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its first half

“Don’t we have hours until the rich guy comes back”

Will Pattle and Alice Briganti’s debut play The Removal Service is the second play in The Maltings Theatre’s online Spring season (after The Regina Monologues) and offers up a distinct shift in tone. This drama starts off darkly comic as estranged brothers Zeek and Greg set about robbing a house while disguised as removal men but pitch-shifts into something murkier as secrets in the house and in motives are soon revealed.

Chicho Tche’s Zeek and Pattle’s Greg share an edgy, rumbling chemistry that makes the opening of The Removal Service intriguing. Luke Adamson’s direction allows for all manner of questions about this relationship to emerge naturally as whip-smart dialogue peeks into the shadows of modern masculinity and the troubles of shared history. And with a Pinter-esque approach to it all, it is clear there’s no lack of ambition here. Continue reading “Review: The Removal Service”

Review: Henry V / The Merry Wives of Windsor, Roman Theatre of Verulamium St Albans

A return to live theatre is well marked by these vibrant open-air productions of Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans

“Try and stay one box away from each other at all times”

As we try and search for a new normal in these uncertain times, it is reassuring to know that we can always rely on the unfailing unreliability of the British weather. After a scorcher of a week, the Maltings Open Air Theatre Festival finds itself opening into thunderstorms aplenty in the atmospheric surroundings of the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans. Plus ├ža change…

What has changed though is the basic reality of putting on a play. Social distancing rules supreme and it is fascinating to see how directors Matthew Parker and Adam Nichols are dealing with it in their respective productions of Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Continue reading “Review: Henry V / The Merry Wives of Windsor, Roman Theatre of Verulamium St Albans”

Review: Twelfth Night, Rose Playhouse

Twelfth Night in the roaring twenties? OVO Theatre bring their inventive musical take on Shakespeare to the Rose Playhouse

“Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool”

OVO Theatre were responsible for my first visit to St Albans with last year’s Much Ado About Nothing in the grand surroundings of the Roman Theatre of Verulamium there. This year, my travel time may have been significantly cut down but once again there’s no less history in their venue choice as their musicalised production of Twelfth Night takes place in the archaeological wonder of Bankside’s Rose Playhouse.

And also once again, there’s an intriguing mismatch between said history and the setting for the reinterpreted play. Roman ruins formed the backdrop for a 50s American diner last time around; here, the darkness surrounding Tudor stone suggests endless ocean as we find ourselves on the SS Illyria in all the hedonistic excess of the roaring twenties. A bold move and one which has its moments in Adam Nichols’ production. Continue reading “Review: Twelfth Night, Rose Playhouse”