Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Spyski - West Yorkshire Playhouse (on tour)

Spyski by Steven Canny and John Nicholson
Director: David Farr
Reviewer: Sara Jackson

I arrived to confusion in the auditorium at the West Yorkshire playhouse. Partly because most of the audience was made up of young students who clearly had no volume control but mostly because we had all come to see a production called Spyski and were presented with a program which said The Importance of Being Earnest (Most definitely not Spyski) on the front and all the cast were listed as playing characters from Oscar Wildes classic.
The piece starts unexpectedly before the lights go out when a spy enters through the auditorium. It took the young audience an annoyingly long time to settle down and realize what was happening.

The lights go down and the curtains open and The Importance of Being Earnest begins. However when the spy leaves the cast breaks out of character to explain there true mission, to tell the truth about a government cover up using their talents as actors. They have had 3 day’s to piece together the performance, which leaves plenty of room for wobbly thrown together sets, bad accents (particularly the Chinese one, although they did explain that there was no time to get an accent coach) and cheap props.

Davis Farr’s direction has to be given high praise; it takes a great deal of planning to make a piece look thrown together. It is very slick and well thought out and the cast all give great performances as inept actors who are swept into a world of government cover-ups.

The set was very simple and effectively used. There were no real scene changes as everything was moved as a part of the performance. The performance is energetic and fast-paced and the cast worked hard to convince the audience that the story was true. If there was a problem it was a technical one with the sound. The music for song at the end was so loud you could barely hear the singing.

All in all though a very clever and funny farce and an enjoyable night out. It won’t change your life, but it will make you laugh.
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