Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Killing of Sister George

Frank Marcus' iconic 1964 play is a wonderful combination of broad comedy, deep pathos, vicious relationship manipulation and pastiche.

Four highly skilled performers create the world in the flat of June Buckridge, who plays the beloved Sister George in the radio soap Applehurst (a thinly-disguised reflection of The Archers). Ironically, at the time of writing (25th February) the latter show has just dramatically killed off a much-loved character - a case of art imitating art?!

Photography: Barry Parsons
We have been delighted with audience reactions to the first three performances; do come and see what it's all about as it continues between 28 February and 3 March.

"[We] would just like to say how much we enjoyed the production last night. The performances were exemplary in a play that was beautifully paced and subtly nuanced and I, for one, was left wondering why there hasn't been a professional revival in recent times. It would be difficult to single out one actor for especial praise but I thought Gill's performance was the finest of all the plays I've seen her in. Those audience members who braved the cold last night were clearly delighted by what they saw." Peter W

"I was at last night's performance... and HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! [Five stars]" Eve P

"An excellent production from Clare Williamson, seamless direction, flawlessly paced, very enjoyable, with a tour de force from Gillian Tichborne as the eponymous George. A thoroughly nasty bullying creature, yet Gilly showed us moments of vulnerability and occasional tenderness, a well rounded performance.
I love Mandy Kiley, so this appraisal is biased. She was brilliant. Showing a saccharine sweetness disguising a steely predatory cunning. Excellent!
An accomplished debut performance from Sophie Blythe. She resisted overtly showing us her self interest, but it was there alright.
A very funny and mature performance from Joy Davidson completed a quartet of very polished performances.
Good set too, and I loved the Archers parody of music interspersing scenes and act.
Bravo to you all." David W

"We are sadly now well prepared for abusive relationships the gender, and sexuality, of the protagonists irrelevant to the ongoing need for total control of the victim. And when the abuser loses control of her working life she becomes even more desperate and cruel in her relationships.
BUT Wait! This play isn't hard going and 'heavy' it's crammed with passion and laughter and fierce energy that streams from George, who seems to only just control it at times. This play has a historical feel, but the sensitive cast have made these characters so real, you care for them all, following their ups and downs, even the outrageous George. It is really captivating to watch. The cast as we expect are perfect in their portrayal of these characters, and it is lovely to watch their expertise and experience, especially when the title character, and actress, could easily overwhelm the stage, but instead she, of course, gives space for the others to play, this is what acting is about, re-acting to each other. It really was a pleasure to watch, a master class, as has already been mentioned.

It's not often 'Whoops!' of enjoyment accompany the sustained applause in the Barn, but it happened this night and was well deserved. Really don't miss....." Mark M

Friday, 12 January 2018

Blood and Ice

It's 200 years ago this month (January 2018) that Mary Shelley's iconic novel was published, and we're delighted to be celebrating this milestone with Liz Lochhead's dark, powerful play about Mary and her world.

Photography: Sean Owen of Reflective Arts
We were especially pleased to be given a double-page spread of advance publicity in the Eastern Daily Press about the show, and you can read the online version here.

The show has been greeted with great enthusiasm, and here are some of the reviews...

"Went to see Blood & Ice at Sewell Barn last night (17th Jan) and it was fantastic. Such a strong show, actors were excellent, particularly the young lady who played Mary Shelley. She had so many lines and delivered them incredibly well. I thought it a very credible performance. Well done." Dawn T

"... tension is brilliantly maintained throughout, with the whole space of the theatre used for action above, below and around us..." Charlotte Valori (click here to read the whole review)

"I didn’t know what to expect as I didn’t know the play. It was brilliantly performed, the effects were excellent and scary at times. I was on the edge of my seat! A play that combined an element of horror with a moving story line. Not to be missed. Congratulations all round." Jill F

"Went to see Blood & Ice last night. What a pleasure it was! A fascinating study of Mary Shelley and the creation of Frankenstein. Strong direction, clear communication and a very effective set all enhanced the experience. I'm happy to say that my Norwegian sister in law followed every word! We'll done to all involved for a fantastic evening out. Lots of food for thought and isn't that what the best theatre should be about?" Clare W

"Very atmospheric with some great set pieces... visually stunning." Barnaby M

"Very thought provoking play. Some very good performances and wonderful direction. Costumes were excellent too." David W

"A night of dark interest as we went to see Blood and Ice The life and sometimes frightful times of #frankenstein author Mary Shelley Directed by our beautiful and talented friend (gents she's single;)) @sabz_101 this being my first visit to a theatre. It was a real treat and kept me gripped from start to finish." Carl S

"Blood and Ice. Sewell Barn Theatre. Fantastic play, wonderful acting, inspired directing. A thrill to watch!" James T

"Tightly directed, beautifully characterised and well focused." Cassie T

Book at St George's Music Shop (by phone or in person), or online; visit our booking page for details.