The following reviews are linked to, and copied from, Amy on Am-Dram:
The Tamaritans, The Drum Theatre, 19th – 23rd June
The Tamaritans brought us their classic recipe of comedy, charisma and characterisation. ‘Rumours’ is described as a side-splitting comedy and there was certainly audible raucous laughter for many of the scenes in this play. The farcical style of comedy is juxtaposed against the dark state of the situation.
This play is set at a dinner party. The guests arrive to find one of the hosts missing and the other with a bullet wound. The stage is set as a front room and hallway of a modern home with plenty of doors leading to the rest of the house. Neil Simon’s writing style requires the audience to use their imagination with the help of the actors as they disappear through the doors into other rooms and return to explain what is happening offstage. One thing after another goes wrong and the evening spirals out of control.
The Tamaritans are well-rehearsed in bringing us fantastically funny plays with slick delivery and excellent timing and this was no exception. Clive Lovatt as Len Cummings tells the other characters a story towards the end of the play. His delivery was faultless and he had the audience waiting for each sentence with anticipation. The crowd burst into well-deserved applause after he completed his tale.
Many of the characters have to shout during their dialogue. Every member achieved the perfect balance between raising their voice and keeping their diction clear. We felt their exasperation and fear and laughed as the curse words started creeping in.
The Tamaritans are true artists when it comes to performing comedy and The Drum Theatre is the perfect venue for performing a play. If you are looking for a relaxed night at the theatre then escape with ‘Rumours’.
The Ghost Train
The Tamaritans, Plymouth School Of Creative Arts, 25th – 28th October
On the approach to Halloween we were promised a night of thrills and chills from The Tamaritans, with their production of The Ghost Train. This comedy thriller, written by Arnold Ridley A.K.A Private Godfrey from Dad’s Army, took us through the spookiest night of our lives.
Forced together by becoming stranded in a train station in the depths of Cornwall, a group of people learn of a creepy folklore surrounding a train accident that occurred twenty years previously. They can’t decide whether it is fact or fiction but as the night unfolds there are certainly some frightening coincidences!
The stationmaster played by Steve Baker, tantalisingly tells the tale of the ghost train as if to an audience of eager children. He lowered his voice and varied the pace of his speech to perfectly build the suspense, without losing the clear diction and projection. This natural storyteller set the tone of the production and certainly drew the audience in to his nightmarish world.
If you are going to attend this production please be aware of the use of strobe lighting. At times the strobe lighting became a little overwhelming.
Ever the professionals, The Tamaritans all played a strong part. Tim Randell was particularly animated as the larger-than-life Teddie Deakin, even treating us to a few tunes on the ukulele. The physical theatre included in the stage direction further drew the audience into this fun world of ghosts and hallucinations.
The Tamaritans performance is a perfectly spooky night of trick or treat, so make sure to book your ticket on The Ghost Train! If you aren’t familiar with Plymouth School Of Creative Arts it is located at 22 Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3EG.
The Tamaritans 15th – 18th February, The Red House, Plymouth School of Creative Arts
‘Ladies Day’ follows the adventure of four ladies; Pearl (Ruth Thomas), Jan (Catherine Teague), Shelley (Nina Jarram) and Linda (Lianne Gore) who work in a fish filleting factory in Hull. They decide to leave the fish factory behind for a day to celebrate Pearl leaving the factory, by attending Royal Ascot’s Ladies Day.
While at the fish factory Pearl is discussing her retirement, ‘Me and Mick might take up amateur-dramatics’ to which Shelley replies ‘Oh you don’t want to do that.’ If only the characters knew how much fun the actors of this amateur-dramatic production were having!
The Tamaritans even created fun during scene transitions with a dance sequence in which the ladies changed from their bland factory clothes to posh Royal Ascot outfits, complete with picnic bag.
The comedic timing of Jan was spot on. Her line delivery never failed to produce a laugh from the audience. At Ascot she succumbs to the effects of drinking too much alcohol. While the other ladies are excitedly talking about the races, all she wants to do is curl up in bed.
The production of the play was carefully considered. The actors mimed the fish production line, using basic props to give a clear idea of what they were doing. The use of background noise for the factory machinery transported the audience straight into the setting.
The show had a laugh a minute but the serious moments gave a depth to the characters and their lives. The scene between Pearl and Barry (Jim Black) gave a stunning contrast to the antics of the girls. The audience were taken from laughing out loud to thoughtful silence.
The unlikely foursome rallied together for a memorable day at the races and a memorable performance for the audience.
Amy on Am-Dram
The Tamaritans, The Muse Theatre, Lipson 26th – 29th October
A mystery surrounded the true nature of this play, as The Tamaritans correctly said it is very hard to describe the play without giving away the plot. It is fascinating and engaging from start to finish.
‘Humble Boy’ has a small cast of six. The play leaves you immediately wanting to re-watch the performance in order to truly take in all its detail. It is clear how author, Charlotte Jones, received several awards for this play. The Tamaritans have once again found a gem and have performed it to perfection.
The story revolves around the Humbles. Flora (Jenny Jarvis) and Felix (Matt Becker) are coming to terms with the loss of, husband and father, Mr Humble. Mercy Lott (Debbie Temple) tries to help at the wake, by offering to hand out sandwiches but finds herself in the middle of tensions within the family.
Anna King has taken on her first major role with The Tamaritans as Rosie, the daughter of George and ex-lover of Felix. She has mastered the realism required for this part and her speech was very natural. Her father George, played by Clive Lovatt, has a larger than life personality and is intentionally loud and over-the-top. With the theatrical personalities around her, Rosie seemed down to earth and relatable. The contrast in the personalities of all the characters added to the intrigue of this play.
The part of Jim the gardener (Geoff Strickland) is curious. He silently keeps peace and has an impressive knowledge of the Latin names of plants and insects.
The Tamaritans production of ‘Humble Boy’ is an absolute must-see. The stage has been constructed excellently and the interactions between the characters, in the setting of the Humble garden are absorbing.
Amy on Am-Dram
The Tamaritans Theatre Company, 21st – 25th June, The Drum Theatre
You know The Tamaritans? Them at The Drum Theatre, did that ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ thing. The Tamaritans performed Alan Ayckbourn’s funny and yet dark play about a neighbourhood watch. The play starts innocently with brother and sister, Martin (Richard Haighton) and Hilda (Debbie Temple) having a housewarming party. The first act is quite relatable with all the actors gossiping about ‘her at number 15’ and ‘the yobs on the estate’ but events turn quite dark when certain people start taking the neighbourhood watch too far.
Alan Aykbourn’s characters are recognisable from every neighbourhood. Joe Gore played Gareth Janner, a character who goes through inner turmoil over what to do about his unfaithful wife. Joe had clearly thought about the conflict within this character, as he excellently showed Gareth as a weeping mess one minute to a strong and determined man the next.
All involved played strong parts and it was interesting to see the diversity of characters within this neighbourhood. Some of the characters were not so sure of Magda (Katie Roberts) because she was an artistic type. The speech between the different types of people was excellent with subtle nods and disgusted looks for certain characters.
As is The Tamaritans trademark, the set was detailed and effective. Overall the play is set in Martin and Hilda’s front room. The Tamaritans also acted off the set, for example when in the garden one character would be looking out into the garden while the other could be heard shouting off stage. This was very well done and gave the audience an impression of the rest of the house.
Another crisp, funny performance from The Tamaritans. Their plays add diversity to the Plymouth amateur-dramatics scene and provides a great night out for the audience.
Amy on Am-Dram
Loot February 2016
The Tamaritans, Devonport Playhouse, 17th – 20th Feburary
The Tamaritans present ‘Loot’, a black comedy by Joe Orton. With this play Orton produced a new take on the farce by creating an increase in the hectic nature of this style, with accusations flying freely and characters seeming to be in and out of trouble within minutes. The play is set in the 1960s with subtle digs at the police force, a sign of the times.
The story begins with Mr McLeavy (Geoffrey Strickland) sobbing over the open coffin of his dead wife. The props used as Mrs McLeavy were excellent. The scenery was detailed and costumes accurate for the time period.
Truscott, posing as a Water board inspector, enters the house and begins his detective work. The interrogation scene between Truscott (Noel Preston-Jones) and Hal (Sam Hughes) was extremely well acted. The use of levels was excellent with Hal cowering on the floor during this scene.
In the middle of all the drama is Fay (Kate Roberts), the nurse of Mrs McLeavy. She has a colourful history with the law and seems to worm her way into all the characters’ lives. Kate plays this part with skill. Her comic sobbing and ability to get what she wants from anyone, especially when she finds out Dennis (Andrew Horigan) is in the money, is very amusing.
Unfortunately the layout of the Playhouse didn’t compliment the staging. Loot takes place in a room in McLeavy’s house. This was placed on the upper part of the stage which meant the audience had to look up from the stalls. Looking down onto the stage would have given a better view of the scene.
Overall The Tamaritans production of Loot was successful and enjoyable. Who knew so much could happen in just one room?
Amy on Am-Dram
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