Here are some reviews of recent (kinda) Roy Marsden theatre appearances I've
collected from another mailing list. Plus, a listing for a Michael Cashman
HEADLINE: Sinking fast on the horizon;Theatre
PUBLICATION DATE: 06 December 1994
BY: Kate Bassett
Treasure Island, Mermaid
THERE'S a rum old do on at the Mermaid. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure
Island, starring Roy Marsden as Long John Silver, supposedly a dramatic
adventure for the festive season, filled me with a slow sinking feeling.
Yo-ho-ho faded into a yawn. Which is quite a disappointment, since the show
should be double cause for celebration: marking Stevenson's centenary year;
and reviving his classic story staged every Christmas for a decade after the
founding of the Mermaid by Lord (Bernard) Miles.
But the crew of the Hispaniola, who of course turn out to be buccaneers
after the same buried gold as the goodies, are a lacklustre bunch of suspect
sailors. Mutinies are declared with all the thrill of going down to the shop
for a pint of milk. Israel Hands, meeting his maker up the mast, is afflicted
with instant rigor mortis of the knees so he can hang artistically head-down
in the rigging. Meanwhile, Rob Inglis's Squire Trelawny, accompanying our
young tavern-born Jim Hawkins on the voyage, seems out of his depth just
trying to dredge up his words.
The presenting company, Vanessa Ford Productions, has good intentions.
The dialogue is extracted from Stevenson's salty prose. The set of rough
timbers and knotted ropes on a revolve, which has a hint of adventure
playground and converts from rickety inn to slice-of-schooner, steers clear
of tackiness. But the show just isn't shipshape. A rolling beam hit a rack of
lamps broadside. The shanties are ropily executed, though composer Richard
Heacock's ``The Storm Is Past'' is at least one beautiful moment of
male-voice harmony as the ship is becalmed against a serene skyscape.
Glyn Robbins's stage adaptation condenses the story into confusion and
John Adam's direction confounds focus. Marsden's Long John Silver towers
above the rest of the cast, modelling a shapely peg-leg, most likely pilfered
from some passing chaise-longue. Long John Marsden, with straggling white
hair and almost as many pistols as lines under his belt, has stagger and
swagger. His stage presence is equal to that of the rest of the cast put
together. Even so, he's hardly going great guns. He does successfully
insinuate simmering cut-throat savagery through an air of cynical
nonchalance, thankfully free of exaggerated evil. However, he has fallen in
with bad company.
True, Richard Heffer keeps his dignity as Dr Livesey and Duncan Knowles
is an able enough if undistinguished Jim. But Leslie Schofield is gently
comic yet limp as Ben Gunn. And Bob Hewis, tolerable as the toffy-accented
Captain Smollett, gives an awful performance as Billy Bones. This
dangerously drunken old sea dog, hunted down for his X-marks-the-spot map, is
about as fearsome as Peter Cook pretending to be a pirate: much sinus trouble
and slightly outsize teeth. When Bones has a heart attack, with all the high
melodrama of Monty Python, one wonders if the Doctor's emergency action ``I
must lance him'' could make him any worse.
-- This article is copyright 1994 The London Times. Redistribution to other sites is not permitted except by arrangement with American Cybercasting Corporation. For more information, send-email to usa@AmeriCast.COM ***
*** Michael Cashman was scheduled to appear in NOISES OFF at the Richmond Theatre in England from April 18-22, 1995. (I assume he did -- never heard from anyone who'd seen it.) ***
*** HEADLINE: Useful lesson in modern manners;Theatre PUBLICATION DATE: 27 April 1995 BY: Kate Bassett
Pygmalion, Birmingham Rep PROFESSOR Higgins appears to live in the Guggenheim Museum. His Wimpole Street drawing room may be furnished with an antique desk and leather armchair, but architecturally it is an open-plan minimalist affair: a white tower with bannister-less stairs spiralling past pictures of lips, caught mid-babble, boldly framed in Matisse blue. The climb ends in a gramophone trumpet, like a huge cobalt columbine. Eliza Doolittle, it seems, will have to abide in an art gallery curated by an awfully avant-garde phoneticist. Jackson Pollock has patently been in residence before her, splattering Mrs Pearce's spotless floor with scarlet. The modernism perhaps reflects the strongly budding feminism of the play and its witty challenges to the old high-low divides. Anthony Clark's production, starring Roy Marsden and Jayne Ashbourne, brings these issues out, rather than burying Shaw's drama under light entertainment and love-interest. But Patrick Connellan's design, more confused than Eliza about where it is coming from, is a sticking point. Ah well, if it isn't practical, it is surely symbolic. Marsden, with a glint of vicar about his round spectacles, does not quite cut it as the devilish charmer. However often he thrusts his hands in his pockets, he never fully captures Higgins's boyish bounce. Still, he is a convincing confirmed bachelor with the makings of a bully. Ashbourne, in her stage debut, has her ups and downs. Hawking flowers under the arches, she seems more acoustically-than-accentually challenged. Her Eliza lacks comic ferocity but has freshness, caricaturing neither the cockney nor the clipped lady, and combining vulnerability with dignity. She comes into her own pulling the wool over the eyes of Mrs Higgins's acquaintances, all but effing and blinding without batting an eyelid, and with grace far surpassing the fashion-crazy socialite Miss Eynsford-Hill who is togged out like a leopard-skin flower fairy. Clark's direction, with freeze-frames when Eliza goes to the ball, suggests a fantastical dream. But Mrs Higgins's ``At Home'' being held in a pasture complete with stuffed lambs seems a folly, apart from following through an abstruse socio-biblical theme about lords and shepherding, interchangeable saints and wayward sinners. The leprechaunish cockneys looking down from above, surveying Higgins's experiment, may well have raised a critical eyebrow. ***
*** HEADLINE: Theatre check;Listings PUBLICATION DATE: 30 April 1995 BY: John Peter and Robert Hewison
PYGMALION Birmingham Rep NEW OPENING This is a brisk, vigorous, imaginative, hugely enjoyable production. I do wish Anthony Clark had not included the additional bits Shaw wrote years later. How can a director of his intelligence not see that this is tiresome, senile rubbish, written with an eye on the nearest film studio? And why even add some ``comic'' business for good measure? Having got that off my chest: what excellent, high-precision acting all round! An elegantly ironical Mrs Higgins (Helen Ryan); a full-blooded Doolittle from Barry Stanton who never patronises the role; a nice, beady-eyed Mrs Pearce (Carol Macready); and George Raistrick's Colonel Pickering: an avuncular, moderately sensitive elderly party, a little emotionally retarded for his age, but warm and kindly. Jayne Ashbourne's Eliza is a little chocolate-boxy and demure to start with, and her cockney needs some roughing up, but she blossoms into an iron flower, all feeling and determination. Her voice needs more strength and greater range; but this is a promising stage debut for somebody who has worked only in television for two years since drama school. The star of the play is Roy Marsden's Higgins: an eccentric upper middle-class Englishman, boyish but crusty, conceited but insensitive, robustly mother-ridden, with the gawky body language, the loping and rocking walk and the braying adolescent laugh of the former public school man who doesn't know he's never grown up. I cannot think why this versatile, charismatic actor is hardly ever seen in the West End. JP ***
Hmmm. Why PYGMALION? Why not MY FAIR LADY? Imagine Roy Marsden as Professor Higgins, Diane Keen as Eliza Doolittle, Ray Lonnen as whatshisname, the other love interest, the one who sings "On the Street Where You Live" (Lonnen, fortunately, CAN sing -- I've got the CD of WONDERFUL TOWN to prove it! ;-)
;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)
pamela pon email@example.com