site search by freefind advanced

 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

A Class Act

A Class Act  A Class Act's web site is at www.a-class-act.org

 

Last production

Where

Arlington Arts Centre

Review of The Mark

12th to 14th December 2013.

Review from the Newbury and Thatcham Chronicle.

The latest production from A Class Act Theatre company brought us The Mark or otherwise known as “Azure 2”, since this is effectively a sequel to David Slade’s previous show Azure Blue, performed back at New Greenham Arts in 2007.

It is difficult to do stage sequels, especially since not all of the audience would have necessarily seen Azure, but nevertheless writer and director David made sure that references to the previous story were kept to a minimum.

The production began with Alfie Clarke and his son Danny attempting a jewel heist via the sewers. A scene that would have been difficult to convey on a small scale budget, but was rather effectively expressed with the use of voiceovers with projected images to match the dialogue. We then entered our first dance routine to open the show with some energy. Credit must certainly go to choreographer Primrose Hoskins for a superb job with the dance numbers that matched the performers' capabilities well, throughout the production as a whole.

We then entered a story in which Danny went missing during the heist, having been captured by a mob-like gang led by John Blundy (played by Keith Phillips), while Danny’s family try to find him. Alfie had an emotional scene where Alfie (Nick Saunders) tries to find his son, and I felt that Nick’s acting in this scene particular was very strong. Luckily Danny is rescued by Blundy’s daughter and her ‘gang’ of teenagers (Shannay Thomas, Mark Coates, Rebekah Spencer, Katie Elliot and Hannah Perry) and it all comes to a head in the coffee shop, ironically run by Blundy’s wife (Zandra Forder), before it is revealed that Danny is suffering from a brain tumour. It is shown that even ‘bad guys’ can have a conscience and Blundy ultimately helps save Danny by use of his ‘connections’ to allow him to get the best treatment possible. The production ends on a high note, finishing with a energetic number I’ve Had the Time of My Life.

There were some good performances from the cast. Nick Card and Steve Hoskins played the two henchmen working for Blundy and they also allowed for a bit of comedy, which was needed to lighten the mood of this rather serious plot. Pete Richings reprised the role of Danny from Azure, and showed a lot of promise; his proposal scene being particularly good. Wendy Orpwood’s song History Repeating was a highlight of the production, and other performers in the production included Ros Kitson, Ruth Wheeler, Siobhan Coates, Steve Prout and Isabelle Johnson.

I do feel that the production felt a bit too lengthy and could maybe have benefited from a few bits of dialogue being trimmed to keep the pace up. Maybe some generic ‘scene change music’ would have been beneficial to this production to help as well. Also I feel one or two singers struggled with the songs and solos they were allocated, but this may have been due to nerves and because some of the songs are quite difficult to sing.

Ultimately one could see that cast and crew had put a lot of work into this production and overall it was a considerable achievement. Congratulations to all who were involved, an enjoyable evening.

SHAUN BLAKE

Previous Productions

About us

A Class Act Performing Arts Theatre Company was founded in late 2002. Our aim is to give all ages the chance to perform together and create theatre of a high calibre. There are not many companies in this area that regularly carry out this idea. Indeed many operate this only on a one off basis or only bi-annually, however A Class Act Performing Arts Theatre Company will always endeavour to have our adults and children working on projects in theatre together or on their own.

Juniors from age 10 years are welcome and we have police checked chaperones available during rehearsal and production times.