Emily reflects on when the theatre scene on the Island went dark as a result of recent events.. and how the Island Theatre community continues to burn bright for us all.
The mesmerising performance of Holly Squires as Ruth, taking us from her struggles as a single mother through her own personal hell of alcoholism, abortions, miscarriages and domestic abuse that finally drove her to the murder she was convicted of.
The Apollo is gaining a reputation for ‘blockbuster’ productions at Christmas – a good alternative to the traditional pantomime for a festive family treat. Last year ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ proved immensely popular and this year ‘Dad’s Army’ became the first Apollo Players’ show in history to sell out every performance before the curtain had even risen on opening night.
… the abiding memory taken away by all the audiences was of absolute hilarity. We were breathless with laughter as Peter Harris, as the very elderly butler Butterfield, tottered across the stage; as Bertie Wooster got almost inextricably entangled in his braces; as Jeeves morphed into Madeleine Bassett through the judicious use of a lampshade and a pink silk scarf … the list could go on!
The real power of the play though, highlighted by the talent and skill of the direction and acting, centres on the isolation and repression of the three sisters, which finds its outlet in the characters of their imagination; Bertha and Cathy (from Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights respectively) are superbly portrayed by Maria Wilkinson, and represent the inner passions of their characters’ creators perfectly, in words and, so often, in silent action.
The Apollo’s December production is, unlike most current shows, nothing to do with Christmas, but its subject matter is almost as familiar as the nativity story to those over a certain age, as the script is derived from various episodes of the hugely popular TV series of the same name, cleverly stitched together to form…
Beautifully written; Shaffer’s world and sharp wit align smoothly to find life breathed into his words by a stellar cast recreating a farcical yet thought provoking, almost forgotten, time.
Maria Wilkinson, as Wendy, almost steals the show with her perfect portrayal of sheer down at heel ordinariness against the other eccentric characters, and a highlight of the play is her nervously singing nursery rhymes while Norris investigates apparent noises in the house.
This black comedy, based on an Oscar Wilde short story, with all of Wilde’s characteristic wit, will keep you guessing and laughing right to the end.
The tone of the play shifted from laugh out loud comedy to subtle reflection and thought-provoking drama as the storyline progressed, but it never lost its pace nor its ability to find humour in the darkest of situations.