Mrs Green - The Musical - Musical ☆☆☆3
Showing from - Thursday, October 2, 2014 through till Saturday, October 4, 2014
Neville Studio, Nottingham Playhouse - Nottingham
Sheridan Halton | Friday, October 3, 2014
An interesting premise for a musical this one; an old forgotten soul singer who sings to her friends and bakes her own brand of ‘special brownies’.
Add to this the fact that the title character Mrs Green is played by a young man by the name of Ben Welch, then you begin to get the idea that this piece of theatre is somewhat far removed from your typical two-act musical.
Some great comic moments interspersed with moments of touching grace
It is easy to think that having seen ‘Mrs Doubtfire’, ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ and ‘Little Britain’ that the premise of a man in old lady’s clothes is a little tired and lacking in humour these days. However it was soon evident that thanks to some nice writing by Nic Harvey and a great performance by Ben Welch, that we have here a character who is easy to warm to with some great comic moments interspersed with moments of touching grace, all of which made for a rather charming piece of theatre.
After the audience were welcomed and helped to their seats in the intimate Neville Studio of the Nottingham Playhouse by the upbeat Mrs Green they were treated to a glimpse into a day in the life of this charismatic old lady from Basford. A series of friends and acquaintances come and go throughout the musical and Mrs Green has songs and reminiscences for all of them.
chock full of attitude
Although some of the early sections of the action are a little stuttering and deliberate at times, the pace really lifted with the arrival of Vivian De Wilde, an old singing partner of Mrs Green who was chock full of attitude. This was a creditable performance by Shauna Shim who was key in one of the highlights of the performance; the song ‘Ain’t All That’, a very well written and directed faceoff between Vivian and Mrs Green. Credit must go to Rob Green who contributed to the writing of this number as well as Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie for some effective direction throughout.
Kieran provided very convincing characterisation as the hapless Scott
During the musical it was the singing that was often more accomplished than the acting within the cast, thanks to some particularly nice vocals from Welch and Shim and also from Sabrina Sandhu in the role of Kimberley. However there were also a few notable acting performances, none more so than Welch in the title role who was convincing throughout as this larger than life character. But also deserving of a nod is Kieran Hardcastle who provided a very convincing characterisation as the hapless Scott who can’t quite figure out why his girlfriend Kimberley was so furious with him over something that he thought was ‘No Big Deal’. This was a great performance from this young man who was thoroughly committed to his character throughout.
What makes Mrs Green tick
Coming in at around 90 minutes for the full show, it was never going to be possible to have a full exploration of all the characters. But the musical did leave one with the feeling that a number of the roles were very arbitrarily written and were somewhat superfluous to the plot. Some of the characters were not well-rounded enough for an audience to really connect with and seemed to be in the musical to serve a convenience, for instance the painter and decorator who happens to be able to play keyboard and guitar and is on hand to accompany the cast whenever a song was launched into. However, the writing of the title role of Mrs Green was very nicely done. There were some great elements of humour alongside some moments of touching poignancy which left you with a good sense of what makes Mrs Green tick.
Enjoyable and original
Ultimately this was an enjoyable and original piece of theatre showcasing some strong performances alongside the promising script and song-writing talents of Nic Harvey. It certainly leaves this audience member eager to see what the talented young Sheep Soup Productions will produce for their next offing at the Leicester Curve Theatre's Inside Out Festival in April 2015.
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