Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Sign Of The Times, Stephen Tomkinson, Review, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne


20-25 APRIL 2009
Performance seen
Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Sign of the Times by Tim Firth starring Stephen Tompkinson and Tom Shaw

Frank - Stephen Tomkinson
Alan - Tom Shaw

One very experienced actor and one actor in his first touring role following drama school.

Their aim? To keep you laughing at a script which essentially revolves around two workmen erecting an illuminated company sign on the roof of a building.

There's no "builder banter" here though. No swearing, no smut so is it any good?

Stephen Tompkinson the Wild At Heart star in Sign Of The TimesActually it's better than good - it is thoroughly enjoyable.

As with all my reviews I will not go into the story in any great detail because I realise a lot of people look up reviews to decide if a play may be worth seeing - not to read the whole story.

But it is safe to say that this particular sign erection is not quite what it seems at first and Frank does not quite realise how much this one, seemingly straightforward, job will affect his future.

This is also a comedy looking at the similarities and differences and the strengths and weaknesses between a middle aged experienced worker and a relative novice in his field (I wonder if it works so well here as this has been cast in the same vein).

Writer Tim Firth got the idea for Sign Of The Times having seen some workmen erecting the "T" of a Tesco store in the pouring rain....... this real life scene got him thinking.

The end result is a simple, easy to follow comedy, with loads of laughs all the way through.

The well experienced Wild At Heart star Stephen Tomkinson is as impressive on stage as he is on the small screen. he takes to the role of "I know best, I've Been there - done that!" Frank like a duck to water. But he is equalled by Tom Shaw who is hilarious as the seemingly "young, inexperienced and with no ambition" Alan.

Tom Shaw in Sign Of The TimesThere are a couple of points I wish to mention before ending.

Firstly the set is excellent. It is apparently a simple set with the first act being set outside on a company roof, the second set is set inside with a rooftop view. But it must be one of the largest, heaviest sets I've ever seen. it's not often the Safety Curtain has to be lifted and the interval extended for the set to be rotated. But at least the very exhausted stage hands got a round of applause for their efforts.

Secondly I did find it ironic that the Sunday after seeing this there was an article/interview in the Sunday Mail about Stephen Tompkinson's unfortunate love life history and his difficulty in keeping hold of the women in his life. It just seemed funny to me when at the normally quiet Devonshire Park theatre stage door there was a long queue of women who could not wait to meet him. He may not be able to hold on to them..... but at least there's a queue!

So back to the play and who is the eventual winner in this battle of the generations? You'll have to see it to find out. But see it you should - it's a great comedy performed by two friendly and very professional actors.
5 out of 5 for Sign Of The Times with Stephen Tomkinson

Print This Entry

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you in advance for your show comment or feedback