This isn’t the Sinatra who screaming Bobby-soxer’s threw themselves at, nor the rose-tinted twilight years legend, this is Palm Springs, 1971, Frank Sinatra is in the biggest decline of his illustrious career. The era of Glam Rock beckons and retirement looms. We’re gathered here for one, last, intimate show.
This is a night filled with memories, both bitter and brilliant. Behind-the-headlines anecdotes intersperse this collection of greatest hits. British-born, now Las Vegas based Richard Shelton delivers this brand new, self-written play with both sass and class. There’s meat on the bones of this show, the memories private and painful, show a little seen side of the showbiz Titan, illuminating the breadth and depth of Sinatra’s many grudges and regrets. Hugely entertaining, this is a classy little number housed in the basement of a tatty Edinburgh pub.
Shelton is a class act and this play a little gem.
Eight-time Tony Award-winner, Spring Awakening made its debut off-Broadway in 2006, finally arriving in the West End in 2009 after a sold-out run at the Lyric Hammersmith. An adaptation of Franz Wedekind’s seminal, 1906 work Frühlings Erwachen, it chronicles the rocky path from adolescence to adulthood in a hugely oppressed, 19th Century Germany, dealing with themes of puberty, sexuality, rape, child abuse, homosexuality, suicide and abortion.
In direct contrast to its setting is its modern pop/rock score from Duncan Sheik and Steven Slater, a score replete with knock-out tunes that both elevate and save the relentlessly dark book.
Edinburgh-based Captivate Theatre’s age-appropriate cast delivers a huge dose of raw enthusiasm and teenage angst throughout and ably cope with the demands of this emotionally draining show. However, their fervor at times spills over into imprecise diction, lack of projection and tuning issues. The cast whilst competent individually is at their strongest when singing as one, and the harmonies are glorious throughout.
This is a gripping work with much to say, but the weakness of the book and its relentless intensity fails to sustain interest for the two-hour running time. Were it not for the first-rate score and the commitment of the young cast it would be a hard watch. A brave choice, which should be applauded.
Theatre company New Old Friends have a rare and brilliant gem on their hands: taking Anthony Horowitz’s much-loved 1986 kiddie noir novel The Falcon’s Malteser and delivering a show that is utterly entertaining and daftly funny for both adults and children alike.
Ex-cop and now private eye, Tim (rather dim) and his teenage (genius) brother Nick Diamond find themselves in possession of a mysterious and much sought after package. Throw into the mix a cast of, what seems like thousands, including: a vertically challenged Mexican, a Russian gangster, an East End villain and a German hit-man to name a few. There’s a cracking script filled with slapstick, songs and sight gags and delightfully clever wordplay – all ripping along at a breakneck speed that keeps you glued throughout.
Much of the show’s success is down to the well-drilled and simply top-notch cast: though churlish to single anyone out, it is Dan Winter who creates the lion’s share of the laughs, as in turn: a door to door, door salesman; a science teacher; a butcher; a newsagent; a hotel proprietor; a night-club bouncer and a hit-man – oh, and he sings too.
It’s filled with witty writing, warmth, charm and winning performances – what more could you ask for? Gather your grannies and grandpas, mums and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and get along to this gag-filled gem. You’d be missing out if you missed it.
Runs until 31 August 2015
Originally published at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-falcons-malteser-by-anthony-horowitz-pleasance-courtyard-edinburgh/