Round the Twist (Eastern Angles tour – Ipswich, Sir John Mills Theatre)
And, of course, there’s Round the Twist. Eastern Angles’ seasonal shows have built up a tradition of spoof dramatisations of classic novels, Mansfield Park and Ride for one. This new show by Brendan Murray is a worthy successor, with characters loosely – very loosely – based on Dickens’ own creations swirling around in a plot which has bits of Great Expectations and Nicholas Nickleby jostling with The Old Curiosity Shop and even
It’s surprising what director Ivan Cutting and designer Ian Teague can do with an acting area not much bigger than a living-room. Weird and wondrous things dangle from above, there’s even an upper stage level crouching above a piano – Richard Taylor’s music is particularly tuneful and has a couple of effective numbers. There are a neat pair of running jokes, one concerning young Oliver Nicklefield’s “testimonials” (work that out for yourselves) and the other (cue audience participation) over Foggerty’s name.
Four of the hard-working cast of five each assume many roles, Joel Sams is our upright dashing young hero, more or less bound to end up with Gabrielle Douglas’ Little Mell; Douglas also has great fun with Dorabella. That’s Dorabella number one, by the way, for Mrs Crumbles (Sally Ann Burnett) also covets – and on occasion plays – the part as well as being down-to-earth Foggerty, all mobcap and sensible apron.
Then there’s the villainous Obadiah Snoop, a serpentine and oleaginous Zach Lee. Greg Wagland rushes around with a bewildering succession of quick costumes changes as thespian Mr Crumbles, convict Magpie, a dubious Scot called McCaber and even Miss Haversack herself. At one point in the second half a horse race at Newmarket takes centre stage; it's cleverly done – but you have to go to see the show to find out how.