Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Own Show -Review- Royalty Theatre

My Own Show
Royalty Theatre
15 May 2012

Fay, a TV chat show host, is worried that her career is on the wane - and her private life isn't up to much either. She is mortified to be reunited, on the set of This Is Your Life, with old school friend Caroline Pollard, but Caroline's bereavement gives her an idea that could rescue her ratings. The fickle nature of fame, the difficulties faced by older women in the media and the vagaries of friendship are dissected hilariously in this sly and witty comedy.

This is my second visit to The Royalty Theatre,with its nice warm approach to the public, seen at many of the amateur theatre's in the region. The first (many moons ago) wasn't that good, so I was looking for a step up in the right direction from the players.

Opening to Fay's (Muriel Waine) living room we see her in a bereft state surrounded by her old school friends Jude (Lorna Breeze) and Gillian (Norma Dougherty), having a bit of a post mortem in regards to her appearance on 'This Is Your Life'. The conversation falls to their old 'friend' Caroline 'Bollards' Pollard, who was a surprise guest on the show. Many stories of how she was disliked and bullied at school by them come to the fore.
After the dissection of the show, Bollards turns up (even after being given wrong street and address by the girls) and tries to reacquaint her friendship. Many more tales (with the odd secret) are discussed with them all. Overall Bollards is looking for a way out of her normal humdrum life, and with exposure on the 'This Is Your Life' programme, she is winning fans from the Gallery. Something that the girls and especially Fay, can't get to grips with.
Will Bollards get even more exposure? How will the other girls cope with this.

My Own Show (written by Lesley Bruce) has a cultural and modernistic statement on the ageism that exists in 'the limelight', only recently The BBC lost a landmark ageism case against Miriam O'Reilly, who was Countryfile presenter for many years. The BBC had wanted to bring in a new youthful outlook to the show.

I really felt as though I was watching maybe the third or fourth dress rehearsal, with the producer/director saying, in a  few months time when the show starts it will be great, but with some hard work. The acting was fairly moderate, almost wooden. Now fans and subscribers to my blog, will know that I love amateur theatre, so I am not bashing the genre- only bashing what does and does not work.
 The lights worked fine, needed more sound, the emptiness of the venue meant that the un-miked actresses sounded very tinny (not a lot of bodies through the door, to absorb the sound), also with the venue being close to main roads, the local noise was streaming in too.
The stage set up was in my opinion very tatty, I could not believe that a TV star could live in a house that looked so bedraggled....unless it was a hastily put together set, more care and attention is needed to get all of the right stuff right.
Directed by Paul Dunn.
My Own Show is playing until May 19th.

Michael Hunter

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