Monday, July 23, 2012

Legal Fictions -Review- Little Theatre

Legal Fictions
Little Theatre

Legal Fictions, written by John Mortimer, barristerand author but best know for his TV screenplay series 'Rumpole of the Bailey' in the late 70's is tonight's offerings from Gateshead's Little Theatre. Two one-act plays, 'The Dock Brief' and 'Edwin' will be performed by the Progressive Players.

The Dock Brief is a funny tale of conversations between prisoner and barrister. Fowle, the prisoner, (played by Mark Willett), has confessed to the murder of his wife.
Morgenhall, (played by Don Walker), the almost down and out barrister, hopes that by rehearsing what will happen in court, they will get away with a thing or two. Making up a witness and fabricating the truth might just get Morgenhall back in the limelight of the Bar.
The play was good, but unfortunately the fluffing of lines and prompting (by the way, prompting by Sylvia Collins, was far too loud, I think this made the actors unnerved) made me not only loose concentration, but also confidence in the actors. I have seen some great acting at Little, but this wasn't one of the them times, disappointing to say the least!

Edwin, a tale of a retired Q.C, Sir Fennimore Truscott, (played by John Moses), never leaving the job, that he loved so much, behind.
Forever critical of his wife Lady Margaret (played by Maureen Duffy) and his 'best friend' Tom Majoriebanks (played by Alex Russell) he plays judge and jury with every turn of his tongue.
Truscott is certain that his wife and best friend are having an affair, so much so that he wishes to confront them both when the Truscott's son 'Edwin' comes to dinner. Convinced that Edwin is their love child, Fennimore seethes with his bemoaning mouth.
Stirring up the trouble is Truscott's forte, but this time, trouble definitely begins with a capital 'T'.

After the almost disastrous first half, I must admit I wasn't looking forward to the second!
With the swish of the curtain, the beautiful set of 'Edwin' came into view, a conservatory leading into a lovely garden. You could almost smell the flowers, and imagine butterflies darting around.
This got me into a better fame of mind, then a prompt came almost straight away, which had me with my head in my hands and a heavy feeling of deja vu.
I need not have worried, this was the last slip up of the night. It was a fantastic performance by all of the cast, and back to the good old days of great acting performances.
The interactions of the actors were superb, some great monologue performances showed of their talents.
Moses was fantastic, his dialogue could have been written for him specifically. A great showing by him!
He reminded me of Paul Merton crossed with Stephen Fry. I will definitely look forward to seeing him again.
Top marks for stage design, Pat Campbell.
Directed by Althea Morrison.

Little Theatre's next production is Blythe Spirit, starting on 3rd September.

Michael Hunter

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