Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Board Game Geek - The Stage Play

In my continuing efforts to bring you the latest in board game culture (except for the art of box covers and game graphics; for that, go to Mike Doyle's site):

Board Game Geek - The Stage Play

Games Night - A new play by Tim & Bruce Sturrock
'The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth'

"To be staged 'cabaret style' so you can drink whilst enjoying the show. Performed by 6 professional and semi-professional actors. A 'sit-com' style play where the situation is the board game and the comedy is in recognizing yourselves and other members of your own game groups. Stampede is an award winning theatre company based in North West Leeds. Directed and co-written by a member of the board game geek community fresh from his award winning production of 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'"

September 21st-23rd 2006 7:30pm - Yeadon Town Hall
Tickets £10.00 or book a table for 10 for £90.00

Yehuda

1 comment:

Bruce Sturrock said...

This was a success! Here's a review...

Games Night. More 2 Come Productions. Guiseley Theatre. Saturday21st July.


Theatre can be a bit of a risky venture: It’s daunting for a company to take on the responsibility of a whole evening’s entertainment for an audience; Nerve-racking for performers to get up on stage and perform; Risky for backers to finance and put on. But it’s also just as risky to be the one deciding whether or not to pay your money, without actually knowing what you are going to get. If you were one of those who knew about this particular show but didn’t ‘quite’ make it, or if the event passed you by entirely, shame on you - start kicking yourself now.

‘Games Night’ was conceived and co-written by siblings Bruce and Tim Sturrock. They have fashioned a collection of slice-of-life life nuggets into a roller coaster ride of laugh-out-loud one-liners, quick-fire sit-com repartee and stop-you-in-your-tracks monologues. It is, to put it bluntly, an astounding piece of theatre writing that actually manages to pull off the neat trick of balancing top-notch comedy, (‘Frasier’ set in Bradford’/‘Shaun Of The Dead’ minus the zombies.) with the kind of human and social commentary usually reserved for much more high-brow BBC radio 4 style platforms.

Can you really blend comedy and commentary successfully within a 2 act play? In addition, can you confront the artifice that separates actors from their characters? performers from their watchers? fiction from reality? How about holding a verbal mirror up to your unsuspecting audience to make them grin and guffaw in solidarity with the characters one moment, and then cringe in self-conscious recognition the next? A smattering of ‘soundtrack of our lives’ music with witty new lyrics anyone? Can anyone put all this together in a theatre play and make it riotously entertaining rather than just arch and clever? The Sturrock brothers can, and all the more so for such inspired casting and assured performances from the whole More2Come Productions ensemble.

The set up is simple. Four, no-longer-teenage not-quite-middle age, friends meet up for their regular Saturday ‘games night’ at Smith’s bachelor flat somewhere in Bradford. The ‘games’ being played here are the type of role-play games that became so popular amongst the Hobbit-reading adolescents of the eighties and that are now making such a come-back amongst the fantasy-film watching teenagers of the noughties. Just your average Saturday night in then!

Smith is the permanently neurotic, perennially ‘single’ host around whom the rest of the characters are drawn. We ride along with Smith from fantasy to reality in the hope that this time he might just get the girl. Bruce Sturrock’s performance of Smith was a joy to watch. It is made all the more remarkable by the fact that, as co-creator and director of the piece, he almost seems to be blurring the edges of elements of his own life story and giving us a glimpse in to the thoughts and fears that most Brits - if we’re honest - will experience, but through embarrassment or fear of rejection, we keep firmly buttoned in and shuttered up.

As for Smith’s so called friends; Trent (Ric Neild) is a techno-geek who delights in dwelling on the finer facts and pointless points that give techno-geeks such a bad name. Ric Neild played Trent perfectly, with just the right amount of geeky intensity and tongue-in-geek humour. Razor (Paul Chewins) is an ex-army bragger who delights in reducing everyone to something that can be lorded over or leered at, especially if they are female and especially if they are Smith. Chewin’s performance hit just the right spot so that despite the surface muscle we were under no misapprehension that Razor is a sadder than sad character making up for past inadequacies. Goff (James Margerrison) is the ‘stoner’ of the group and one of those fabulous comedy creations that have licence to just pop up whenever required, with a killer one-liner. Very Homer Simpson and very, very funny (my fourteen year old son was in stitches!). To say that James Margerrison was Goff and drew me in completely is an understatement. His performance was particularly noteworthy in a cast full of noteworthiness.

And into this very male world come the females. Goff’s sister Kim(Cat Moss) catches Razors shallow eye but is carrying some deep unresolved scars to do with the death of her father. The venom with which Cat Moss delivers her main monologue in juxtaposition to the lighter comedy going on around her was one of those moments in the piece that caught the audience completely off guard. Her performance was touching, believable and very nicely judged. And with Kim came Sally (Jennifer Banks) the potential sort-of-heroine to Smith’s potentially sort-of-hero. If we hadn’t been told in the programme that this was Jennifer’s first dramatic performance in 30 years we would never have known. There really were no weak links in this cast whatsoever. A very hearty round of applause must go to all involved in this tremendous premiere production.

If ‘More2Come Productions’ live up to their name, then hopefully we will see more of this play, amongst others. And when they come to town again, I for one will be first in line to buy a ticket.

Gary Dearlove.