Reviewed by Matt Gibbins
Rosie's Vineyard, Elm Grove
Portsmouth once again plays host to local playwright Roger Goldsmith in another resounding success, 'Grace', showing at Rosie's Vineyard, a wonderful venue with a hidden gem of a performance space out back in their conservatory.
'Grace' tells the story of two women caught up in a murder trial involving both their children, and the unlikely bond that comes through as a result. Though the intimacy of the venue played to the scripts strengths, unfortunately it did little to help the sight lines. Since there was no raked seating or raised stage area, it often meant that scenes set with the characters seated meant that you lost a fair bit of acting visuals. Really though, considering the venue, it can't be helped and it's a small fault in an otherwise clever and diverse play.
Hazel Aspden, making her full length directorial debut, shows how easily the role comes to her. Having the actors set on stage throughout, in a sort of melancholic state added a great level of drama to the piece, giving an omnipresent tension to each scene. Megan Joan Green gave a brilliant performance as our title character, taking on practically half of the dialogue and action, having been thrown into the role with only a month's rehearsal. Her attack on the script was consistently strong, and she particularly delivered the sarcasm of the lines with great ease. Leigh Cunningham as new best friend Paula gives, once again, an admirable and heartbreaking performance, most of all in her latter scenes where her character dissolves into the mere shell of the woman she once was.
Phil Amor as Frank gave a much more pulled back and gentle approach to an otherwise very angry and loud husband, which added a level of sophistication to the role. Chris Mills and Katie Watson as Ray and Sarah, lovers torn apart by a brutal murder, played their roles with a great level of conviction and shone in their few scenes. Newcomer Alice Mulholland as Alice had wonderful authenticity as a young and sexually fired teenager, appropriately flirtatious and naughty, but with a quick wit to boot. Finally, hats off to Elisha Miller who stepped into the role of Oliver at the last minute. Without being told beforehand, it would be difficult to guess he had far less rehearsal than everyone else.
Unfortunately 'Grace' only had a limited sold out run of three nights, but here's hoping that this gem will be reprised at a later date.
Roger Goldsmith presents 'Mirrors' at the Wedgewood Rooms on November 22nd and 23rd, prior to the 'Damages' by Steve Thompson. Tickets available via the venue.
New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth is set to produce its first in-house Christmas production since its re-opening in 2015, with a new adaptation of the classic romantic fable - Beauty and the Beast.
This brand-new Christmas spectacular will run from 14 - 31 December and after the success of last year’s production will also include a dedicated relaxed performance.
Written and directed by the theatre’s new Chief Executive, Scott Ramsay, the adaptation will offer a new twist on the world-famous folk-tale. “We’re excited to be producing our own Christmas show for the first time,” comments Scott. “It’s a huge leap forward for this historic theatre that no less than three years ago didn’t even have a stage.”
With beautiful costumes and a host of colourful characters, the Christmas show will take audiences on an extraordinary adventure from the bustling streets of Portsmouth to the magical forests of Hampshire.
Silver and Gold performance tickets range from £19 to £29 with Preview show tickets from just £14.50. There will also be a range of Schools' Performances.
Click the link below or call the box office on 023 9264 9000 to book for this family Christmas spectacular.
Olivier Award Winning English Touring Opera To Perform Handel's 'Giulio Cesare' in Full at New Theatre Royal
English Touring Opera (ETO) is to present a new production of Handel’s masterpiece, Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar), uniquely divided in two parts.
This is the very first time that this opera is presented complete in Portsmouth, with over 4 hours of music split into two performances, each telling a distinct story over two consecutive nights, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.
The Olivier award winning company are among the leading producers of Handel operas in the UK, having produced fifteen Handel operas in the past fifteen years of James Conway’s leadership as ETO General Director. The company’s focus on Handel has played a big part in re-establishing Handel’s prominence in the operatic repertoire.
Giulio Cesare follows the story of Roman general Julius Caesar and his uneasy romance with Cleopatra.
In Part 1: The Death of Pompey we see the aftermath of the execution of Caesar’s rival, Pompey, as Caesar, Cleopatra and her brother, Tolomeo, all fight to the death for the throne.
Part 2: Cleopatra’s Needle shows Caesar and Cleopatra at their lowest ebb: will they regain the upper hand over Tolomeo? Can their relationship survive the incoming war?
Booking will be open independently for each night, allowing audiences to book for either part. Multibuy discounts are available for audiences wanting to experience Handel’s masterpiece in full.
Giulio Cesare is being staged at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October, featuring a different distinct story on each night. Tickets are available now by calling the box office or alternatively by clicking the link below to book online.