Mad Cow ReviewerReviews

Here are some reviews of our previous productions.

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Last week chaos reigned supreme at Shrewsbury School courtesy of Mad Cow Productions and Michael Frayn's hilariously cynical take on the world of Provincial Rep.

It apparently occurred to Mr. Frayn, some fifteen years before he wrote the play in question, that no matter how absurd and unlikely the farce was on the front of the stage, the real humour was to be found in the glorious conceits and tragic ineptitudes of the real-life dramas back-stage. The result was one of the greatest celebrations of chaos theory ever penned- 'Noises Off' which Alex Hinton so successfully produced and directed in aid of Children's Leukaemia Research and The Ashton Theatre.

The philosopher Freidrich Neitzsche said that we must have chaos within us to give birth to a dancing star and a positive firmament of them exploded on stage in this production.

Helen Bryant played the part of Dolly Otley with consummate professionalism - her accent spanning Bermondsey and Berkhamstead with memorable flair. Alisdair Hinton was comically tragic as the rampaging but thwarted Estate Agent, Gary Lejeune and the wonderful Beckiann Smith gave us a dazzling parody of the 'barmy bimbo' in both roles as the dreadful Brooke Ashton and the giddy Vicki. I loved Lisa Lowarch's stiff, mannered and utterly crazed Belinda Blair and her husband - played by Robert Hinton - was genuinely the funniest representation of this part I have ever seen enacted. Andrew Murray played his part as the old thespian drunk, Selsden Mowbray, with slightly worrying accuracy and both Sean Cloak and Vicky Keates added beautifully to the frenzy. Last, but by no means least, the part of Lloyds Dallas, the desperate director who is supposed to preside over this confused melee, was given the voice of truly deranged despair by the all-too-convincing Patrick Playfair (I read in the programme that he used to be a headmaster - perhaps that explains the veracity).

There used to be the maxim in the Theatre that if an audience came out of a play feeling that real life was somehow awfully like what they had just experienced, then you had a hit on your hands. Last Thursday night, the deft but occasionally worried-looking set-changers were actually applauded by what I wanted to believe was an audience which was responding to the play's self-reflexive text. I'm sure Michael Frayn would have loved it!

So thank you and warmest congratulations to the MCP team (Are there subtle and perhaps ironic shades of 1970's Feminism in these initials?) Given their name, would it be wholly inappropriate for the reviewer and admirer to wish them health, prosperity and a long productive life?

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