A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

Orange Grille productions presents

 
The Revengers

 

 

by Ed Waugh & Trevor Wood

 

Directed by Simon Nader

 

Barons Court Theatre

 

10 May 2011 – 21 May 2011
 

 

During a frantic opening scene, leather-clad Katy (Sally Gilfillan) offers to show the audience the events prior to this moment, almost in apology. Henceforth, The Revengers is principally a retrospective glance at the story preceding this action-filled opener. Katy and her husband Jimmy (Jon Bradshaw) have a loving but stale relationship, her thirst for excitement conflicts with his for homemade soup. A determined and stubborn Marxist with an adolescent sense of humour, Jimmy seems to specialise in opposing every incentive for fun that Katy can muster. Katy is a struggling actress whose heyday, as the feisty Gemma Peel in “The Revengers”, dates back twenty-five years and Jimmy is all too happy to remind her of this. When smooth and suggestive Gary (Simon Nader) the loan-shark arrives uninvited both the characters undergo something of a transformation. Encouraged and flattered, Katy develops a “spring in her step” and at noticing this, Jimmy launches into some jealous tirades that seem to be as much about his own frustrations with his situation, as any irrational mistrust of his wife.

Open on all three sides, the Barons Court Theatre stage provides an intimate setting. This lends itself well to the atmosphere in The Revengers, since the audience are very much part of the action on stage, acting as confidantes to Katy and Jimmy at intervals and at others occupying a more voyeuristic perspective. The play utilises an interesting technique whereby the characters can be present onstage but not part of the scene at that particular moment. In one scene, Jimmy and Gary are engaged in a row at the house while Katy concurrently tries out for her symbolic and much coveted role as Portia, in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in Manchester. Clever lighting techniques, courtesy of Pamela Flanagan and Emma Burn - Lighting and Sound Operators, and the actors’ concentration convincingly separate these scenes while maintaining simultaneity. Popular music is combined with classical dramatic pieces serving the dual purpose of making the characters’ situations relatable and reinforcing the dramatic and comic elements. The set is adaptable and props are used very effectively; photographs and artwork on the walls of Katy and Jimmy’s home reference their dramatic past and yet they are not out of place in the duller light of the pub scene later in the play.

 The Revengers does not break any moulds plot-wise and there are a few significant unexplained leaps in its development but it could be argued that some of these are necessary for dramatic effect.  Though comic in places, especially in Simon Nader’s interpretation of some clever wordplay in the script, the more slapstick comic elements fall flat. However, in the confident hands of Jon Bradshaw, Jimmy is a convincing, engaging character and in spite of some of his more lacklustre preoccupations and minor unsavoury outbursts is, on the whole, made genuinely likable. All in all, The Revengers is an entertaining, dramatic production with some genuine chemistry and comic moments.

 

Box Office: 020 8932 4747
               
                http://www.offwestend.com/index.php/theatres/view/42

Barons Court Theatre
Curtain's Up pub
28a Comeragh Road
London
W14 9HR

Tickets: £12.50/£10 conc.



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