Sir John Mills Theatre Ipswich until January 7
Seckford Theatre Woodbridge January 10 to 21
As we left the theatre my friend laughed “well that was like pantomime meets Blackadder” and I had to agree it was a brilliantly fitting description for the remarkable evening of hilarity we’d just been treated too. I was therefore amused to later read the Writer/Director Pat Whymark’s programme note that Stoat Hall is “a sort of Tudor/Muppets mash up with a respectful nod to Blackadder and DIY SOS” so we can only agree resolutely!
It’s certainly Pat Whymark and Julian Harries’ witty script that is the bedrock of this clever production. The amalgamation of dipsy Tudor ‘hey nonny nonny’ and current cultural references keeps the audience chuckling throughout and add to the mix the kind of multi layered humour that keeps all ages engaged and you’re on to a winner.
Huge credit must though go, to the highly talented cast of just five who keep the pace of delivery just perfectly pitched. And it’s the pace that makes their seamless switching from one character to another all the more impressive. Anyone who’s been to, or performed at, the Sir John Mills theatre will know that the sheer logistics of working out how a cast can enter and exit the limited performance space is tricky enough but add in multiple costume and character changes and you’re looking at a hefty spreadsheet I’ll suggest! But these gifted professionals made it look so easy and the impressive but simple ‘theatre in the round’ set was used to great advantage.
One of the greatest joys of an original production is the wonder of what will happen next and the story and action kept us guessing to the last. Original music is another great asset of this outstanding show and if they’re not playing to sell out audiences for the rest of the run I’ll eat my Tudor cap!
Box Office: 01473 211498