Thursday, 3 July 2008

Big Bad Mouse, Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne Cannon and Ball, 2nd July 2008

Cast (In order of appearance)

Fiona Jones - Emily Trebicki
Harold Hopkins - Chris Leach
Miss Spencer - Anne Smith
Mr Price Hargreaves - Tommy Cannon
Mr Bloome - Bobby Ball
Lady Chesapeake - Sue Hodge
Doris Povey - Evelyn O'Malley

The last time we saw Cannon and Ball was probably about 20 years ago at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings. That was a traditional Cannon and Ball stand-up-comedy routine far removed from acting in a stage play.

We saw this performace of Big Bad Mouse on Wednesday 2nd July 2008 in the company of no more than 80 others. It was a pathetically small audience. Even the front row was 80% empty!

Sadly poor attendences at the Devonshire Park Theatre are becoming common occurences. This has nothing to do with the quality of the shows. I feel the problem lies more with the local council.

The Friends of The Devonshire Park Theatre have raised thousands and thousands of pounds which has made the interior of the theatre quite beautiful. However the council have allowed the exterior of the building to deteriorate to the extent that I feel a holidaymaker could take one look at the building and think it looks like a bit of a neglected dump. I don't feel they do enough to promote shows either and advertising is poor.

Eastbourne Council ought to wake up to the fact that they have a major responsibily in keeping their theatres looking good outside, as well as inside.

At the moment the outside of 3 of Eastbourne's 4 theatres is far removed from the picture postcards of these buildings on sale in the shops.

Anyway did a poor attendance at Big Bad Mouse equal a poor show?

Not in the slightest. In fact it has to be one of the funniest comedies we've seen.

Bobby Ball, Me, Tommy CannonIn a strange way the lack of audience helped here. Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball used this to their advantage.

Tommy Cannon appeared on stage, walked to the front, looked at the feeble crowd and started with something like "Bloody hell is that it?" That opening was a clear indication as to how the rest of the play was going to go.

First a quick summing up of the story: In the Chunkibix Ltd office Mr Price-Hargreaves gives the orders and Mr Bloome acts on them. Until, that is, Mr Bloome is accused of chasing a young female across Wandsworth Common, making him the hero of every female in the office including Miss Spencer. Bloome's transformation is so huge that when the young woman discovers she made a mistake in her identification Bloome is quite upset and is determined to keep her quiet.

The script? What script? Cannon and Ball take any script and literally throw it out of the window.

It has become a well known fact in this show's national tour that the rest of the cast are never quite sure what is coming next.

That unpredictability is what made this show work so incredibly well. Tommy and Bobby can use a small audience to their advantage. Many of the audience members became permanent targets for their humour through the evening and at times you could thing the cast were using the audience for their entertainment rather than the other way round.

Although the audience was a small one I don't think a single person left the theatre not having enjoyed the show. This was one of those occasions where ad-libbing, script changing and off-the-cuff humour results in a completely happy audience.

But the whole cast were stars, not just Tommy and Bobby!

Sue Hodge (probably recognized mostly as Mimi in 'Allo 'Allo) played the hilarious Lady Chesapeake expertly. Sue is no stranger to the theatre and in the last few years she has been part of nationwide tours of several productions.

Anne Smith has a wide range of theatre and TV credits these range from Evita in the West End to appearances in Eastenders and Birds Of A Feather. In Big Bad Mouse she is Miss Spencer the rather prim secretary who gradually becomes infatuated with "office stud" Mr Bloome.

Emily TrebickiYoung actress, Emily Trebicki ,was absolutely hilarious as "office bimbo" Fiona Jones. We had seen Emily in a similar role in the tour of There's No Place Like A Home - she had been equally as impressive in that show. However Emily's credits aren't just in comedy . She trained at Christine Clarkson School of Ballet and Stage, has been in a wide range of theatrical productions, lots of pantomimes and undertaken TV commercial work. It seems that Emily's first TV show appearances must be just around the corner. However she is so lovely to meet and talk to I hope she continues the theatre stuff too.

Chris Leach's role is that of office lad Harold Hopkins.With his script and scenes following those of Emily Trebicki those 2 actors work together extremely well. He only graduated in 2006 and his credits are therefore minimal to date. But given his great comedy performance in this show his acting credits can only grow.

Finally there's Evelyn O'Malley as the Wandsworth Common victim. Evelyn's sections of the script are relatively short but they are still pieces that are delivered professionally.

Having now seen Big Bad Mouse performed in typical Cannon and Ball style I don't think it would ever be the same watching it acted perfectly by the book.

This was a whole new experience in brilliant "random acting".

Nice work cast!

Print This Entry

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you in advance for your show comment or feedback