Tag Archives: comedy

Theatre review – The Two Gentlemen of Verona

I have never read Master Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona,  nor seen it performed. Until last night, when the always excellent Guildford Shakespeare Company brought the comedy to vibrant life, in the beautiful gardens of the University of Law and transported to glitzy Italy in the 1950s.

(images from GSC website)

The Two Gentlemen was Shakespeare’s first published play. It is considered to be weaker than the many classics that followed, but it does introduce common themes that he returns to time and time again – love and friendship; infidelity and betrayal; dominating fathers and recalcitrant children; and a girl dressing as a boy.

The two young Veronese gentlemen are best friends Valentine and Proteus. Proteus falls in love with Julia. Valentine leaves for Milan, where he falls in love with Silvia, the Duke’s daughter. Proteus is told by his father to travel to Milan too, where he falls instantly in love with Silvia.

Poor, weak Proteus is completely undone by the urge to obtain the new object of his desire, whatever the cost. Friendship is put aside, betrayal ensues, but contrasted by steadfast loyalty and – ultimately – forgiveness.

This innovative production, directed by Charlotte Conquest, never flags. Comedy quickly overcomes the play’s darker themes, and GSC co-founder Matt Pinches lets rip with his usual array of comic voices – as a slow, West Country station announcer before the curtain comes up, and then as Launce, Proteus’s servant, played with a Welsh accent as broad that of the Pontypool  front row,

But the undoubted star of this production of The Two Gentlemen is Launce’s canine companion Crab. Played by three separate actors throughout the 16 night run, Tiba had Launce – and the entire audience – eating out of his paw last night.

Another triumph for the exuberant Guildford Shakespeare Company. Like Master Will, they just get better and better.

 

 

Theatre review – Abi Roberts: Anglichanka

Abi Roberts is a total original, a weird and whacky fusion of energy, language, comedy and song.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 15.02.59

Her new show Anglichanka (Russian for English woman) is loosely scripted around her life in Russia – training to be an opera singer – in the 1990s, and her recent return as the first British stand-up comedian to perform there, in Russian and English.

Surreal, or what.

Throw in some graphic imagery of her wild time at Swansea University, her controlling Hyacinth Bucket doppelganger of a mother, a mastery of the Russian language, gentle abuse of President Putin, some audience participation, a lot of ad-libbing and a cracking bit of opera singing, wearing a Russian soldier’s hat (don’t ask), and you begin to get a feel for Abi’s unique brand of comedy.

Grab a bottle of vodka, open your mind and she will transport you to a 10th floor apartment in a Moscow apartment block with a mad family and a dog straddling the toilet, in the frozen depths of a Russian winter.

Thanks to the Guildford Fringe Festival and the Back Room at the Star Inn for providing the perfect venue.

Edinburgh…..are you ready for Ms Roberts?