Actor Marc Graham has spoken about the Middle Child Theatre Company panto which is a Dave Windass written adaptation of Aladdin and has a special guest appearance by Hull rapper Nineties Boy.
The production, which runs from 21st to 29th December at Fruit, is the fourth time the Hull-based company have teamed up with the prolific writer for their take on the mad-cap world of pantomime and has, once again, seen Middle Child parody a popular Christmas advert, with their version of a girl making friends with Nineties Boy on the moon after seeing him through her telescope. Trailer
Looking relaxed back with the company Marc is best known for working with, after his sojourn to Hull Truck Theatre to appear in the sensational Dancing Through the Shadows, you get a definite sense of contentment as he says: “Middle Child feels like home, it’s what I’m used to, where it started for me and where I get the most enjoyment.”
Laid back on two chairs oozing the professionalism the company is known for and showing the attitude of a major star he then speaks about how the Nineties Boy connection came about: “We do a quiz at Fruit every month and Nineties Boy was on the sort of panel we have for it once so we just asked him to be in it.
He carried on in his relaxed mood: “He’s playing Wishy Washy but it’s an alternative production so it’s a very Nineties Boy Wishy Washy.”
Then we got onto the subject of working with Dave Windass for a fourth year in a row so Ensemble 52 got mentioned as I asked if he could see the two companies working together in future to which the reply had a hint of the unknown: “I don’t know, maybe but I’m not sure what we’d have to offer each other, which is a shame.”
Then he told me about the challenge of doing three different types of shows every day: “It’s really hard work doing three different performances in a day.
He continued: “Christmas is secondary because you have to be really focused on what you’re doing. Panto is really fun, you might spend the rest of the year doing really deep stuff like Mercury Fur, then panto comes along and it’s really good fun but you have to work really hard to get to that, you have to know it better than every other show you do that year.
“We try and make it completely up to date so it’ll be different every time.”
The performances will also include a band on stage which will have a different name every time and Northern Lights Drama Children’s Choir will be involved as well.
Tickets are priced at £8 Adults £6 Concessions/ £10 Adult Shows Tickets and £24 Family Tickets which is for 2 Adults and 2 Children and can be purchased on the Middle Child Website or Hull Box Office Tickets
Hull’s Chameleon Players are back at the Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) with another treat for theatre-goers with their take on the classic Wife After Death by Eric Chappell.
The production deals with the funeral of Dave Thursby, a lovable rogue actor who has a few skeletons in his cupboard which he managed to keep very well hidden until his untimely death.
Most of the action revolves around Dave’s two best friends Harvey (played with great distinction by Allister McNulty) and his wife Vi (played with great poise by Paula Branton) and the dialogue between these two is very dynamic and builds up the first impression of the recently deceased man with great composure.
Laura (played with great attitude by Kathy Smith) is the widow and she fits beautifully into the dialogue with her entrance which is a credit to her timing and the way her entrance is set up by Branton and McNulty. The ensuing conversation with her talking about her dead husband which causes a few heart flutters on stage.
The strong acting by Branton and McNulty expertly develops the other characters even before we see them and when we do they are exactly as you expect them to be.
Kevin (played with great elegance by Steve Willis) is the dead man’s long suffering agent and when he enters you know what to expect and the building-up to the point of him looking in the open coffin is superbly skilfully handled by Willis and McNulty.
Harvey is the writer who has written a lot of work for the dead man and the life and character of a writer are expertly delivered by McNulty in an outstanding performance with fantastic wit to go with it.
The character of Jane (played with wonderful presence by Joanne Gallagher) is very strong at first but is unraveled expertly on stage as the revelations which are a big part of the production keep coming.
The entrance of Kay (played with excellent conviction by Sharon Burton) changes the whole dynamic on stage with a fantastic development of Dave’s dim and distant past which nobody will see coming.
Despite all the tragedy about the death of the popular entertainer and the shocks in stall there is a wonderful sense of comedy timing about the whole thing.
Everything is beautifully ramped up just before and after the interval and you honestly wonder which way everything is going to go.
The background is changed in the 2nd half after Harvey has an idea of what he’s going to do in the near future but then comes the biggest shock of all which is a very hot brick which is superbly handled by the whole cast.
The final piece in the jigsaw also fits in extremely well with everything else that has happened and brings the whole production to a predictably unpredictable ending.
Wife After Death is on stage at NAPA on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November as well with tickets available on the door, you would be very well advised to go and enjoy this treat of a production.