Wednesday, 4 July 2012

DEAD RINGER (UK Tour) July 2012

Dead Ringer, a political thriller by Charles Ross. Heard of it? Didn't think so. I hadn't either, nor the cast before being handed the script. The story unfolds at number 10 Downing Street after the Prime Minister dies on the eve of an election. In order to keep their jobs those around him hatch a plan that involves hiring a look-a-like out of work actor to take his place. It's very far-fetched.

I couldn't help but thinking to myself "would this really happen?". It's difficult to believe that close relations of the Prime Minister including the Queen would initially fail to recognise the impostor. It was a lot of fun, farcical and witty - but the reality of the whole situation was ludicrous.

This is the second play of four that feature in the Ian Dickens Summer Play Season at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. David Callister who plays Prime Minister Randolph Jackson and impersonator Gerry Jackson has a lot to do, and manages well with acting as an actor who is acting as the character he played for the first ten minutes - yes, really. Chris Ellison, Frank Burnside in the Bill and Boyard in a later series of Fort Boyard with his hard-man image made for a perfect Colonel Hardacre.

Joanne Heywood and Tony Adams (both pictured above) gave strong performances as Eva Bolton and Ray Turnbull. There was great character in Josh Hall's Nigel Heywood. It is a shame that he didn't appear for longer, with only a few brief appearances. It seems to be the case with these plays that the popular comedic character you'd like to see most has the least to do. Josh Hall is however credited in the programme as Assistant Stage Manager and understudy along with Neve Breen. 

Alan Miller Bunford's set for this production is a lot more practical than his creation for last week's The Cemetery Club. And with no set changes, the breaks between scenes were very short. 

The play as a whole is an interesting one. I'm not the best when it comes to understanding politics (and neither are the cast they admitted afterwards) and that side of the play was completely over my head. But what is interesting about this one, regardless of political understanding is the motives of those covering up the death and watching the situation evolve into a detective 'whodunit' mystery. There is enthusiasm aplenty within the cast, apart from that is to say the weakest and most feeble gunshot I've ever seen on stage. It makes for an entertaining night out. 

Dead Ringer runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 7th July before continuing on a UK tour.

(With Tony Adams, Chris Ellison, David Callister and Joanne Heywood)

No comments:

Post a Comment