The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
A Ramps on the Moon production of Gogol’s eighteenth century satire which cleverly combines dialogue, BSL and captioning (at one point a visibly fuddled character explains that he doesn’t understand sign language and is advised to “read the surtitles…”) and some very, very good acting.
The two leads (I guess) in David Carlyle as The Mayor (“We’re all in this together, after all…”) and Robin Morrissey as Khlestakov open the batting with appropriate manic intensity, but very nearly have the show stolen wholesale under them from the dynamic mother-daughter combo played by Francesca Mills and Kiruna Stamell – the latter a chiffon-swishing proto-Sybil Fawlty with a waspish air which would put Hyacinth Bucket to shame. A special mention in dispatches also for Rebekah Hinds, who renders a stirring magistrate’s clerk/interpreter apparently channeled through nothing quite so much as a vodka-swilling Supernanny*, however the whole ensemble in pitch-perfect throughout.
*I know – me too.
It was an early show – David Hepworth would have been delighted at the seven o’clock kick off – so a goodly proportion of school age drama students Ohmigodding in the foyer beforehand. Thankfully a phone beep-free zone throughout.
It made me think..
If theatre is all about transforming a fiction into a credible reality without an audience noticing the join then that is exactly what these people do, in spades.