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NIGHTMARES IN MIDSUMMER        


I was honoured to be asked to review this first production from Soup Theatre – I have watched Steve Loczy hone his performance skills over the last few years, and this, his first venture with Sian McBride and their embryo theatre company Soup Theatre, was an intriguing and nicely conceived evening


The venue added to the feel of the production, I liked the concept of having the different rooms available for the cast to be interviewed by the audience.  I felt this vehicle would also lend itself well to a younger audience, as it would engage young people and get them looking under the surface to ferret out the truth, either as performers or audience - lots of opportunities there.


Overall I wanted more projection from all the actors, even when they were purporting to be the not-very-accomplished Thirteen Theatre Company members, (which is why I always sit in the back row)!!!  Some of the ‘asides’ were not always marked enough.  


The effect of involving the audience was that everyone was sharing their views and discussing who they thought was guilty and why – which made it a fun interactive evening, and of course this piece or similar could be used for a run, as there could be a different killer each night –everyone had their gripes with Martin, so the ending could have been different each time.  


Sian McBride showed many different sides of her character Sharon – she very definitely misled us when she said she was friendly with both Scott and Paul – as her relationships with both men were not as comfortable as she gave us to believe.  So that was nicely done – she was confident when questioned, and for a while I actually considered her as a possible, but couldn’t nail down a motive!!!


Shirley Jones as Hazel Wood appeared to be very straight forward in her answers, and volunteered a lot of information with regard to the monetary affairs of Martin, and that she had been a colleague for several years.  It was strange that she didn’t reveal Martin’s thefts from the company funds until after his death, and I’m not sure about the other audience members, but I felt I’d missed a trick with everyone, in that I hadn’t asked who would stand to gain from Martin’s death, or had lost most from his theft.  


Anthony Harvey was a convincing Theo Stewart.  Some of his lines were a little too throw-away, but he came over as a very arrogant young man – who thought he could do better than everyone else.  I liked the character in a diverse sort of way, and the way he took control once Martin was out of the way.  A little more conviction would have lifted this character to bridge the gap between the forceful Scott and the controlled quieter Paul.


Michael Hutchinson gave quite a convincing performance as Paul – who wanted to be everyone’s friend, and was a bit of wimp really, trying to help Sharon – by implying he wanted to be more than a friend, whilst rather underhandedly trying to make the others look bad!!  Again a little more conviction, particularly during the questioning would have enhanced the character.  However that said, he did his job well, as the majority of the audience thought he was the killer.


Martin as played by Tom Laker, really didn’t figure too much.  It was obvious his directorial style was very under-developed, and no-one really rated him – but I got the feeling that because they all needed a job and wanted to be ‘actors’ they were prepared to put up with him!!  He died very convincingly!!


The ending was a little abrupt - it would have been a natural conclusion to the evening to have some sort of finale, as audiences like to give the cast their appreciation.


Everyone appeared to enjoy the evening, as did I, and there was a good deal of discussion and views going back and forth, which again helped to get the little grey cells working!  


So, in conclusion, an inventive evening – not one I’ve seen before where the audience actually get so involved, I think that is a good ploy, and one I thoroughly enjoyed.  There are lots of possibilities for more scenarios, and I wish you luck - I hope it works for you, and you have a workable and successful Company there for the future.




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Soup Theatre

NIGHTMARES IN MIDSUMMER

review date: 9TH May 2014

Director: Hayden Turner   

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