In 2011, we had edgy theatre from Publick Transport, another visit from The Rudes, a new cabaret and we wrapped up with jazz…
Publick Transport Theatre Company – The Department of Smelling Pistakes – 7 April 2011
Bristol-based Publick Transport brought this show to Crowhurst, an absurdist comedy about a Soviet civil servant’s attempt to hold onto his job even though he can’t remember what it is, while an ominous inspector puts him through a bizarre series of tests.
Speaking in suspect Russian accents and communicating in what appears to be poorly translated English, the pair stumbled through one misunderstanding after another as they tried to outdo each other at political correctness. An hilarious satire on mind-numbing bureaucracy and Party paranoia, with spadefuls of surreal comedy and wordfoolery to boot.
The Rude Mechanicals – Gentle Harry’s Farm – 15 July 2011
What can one say that has not been said before in the numerous reviews of the Rude Mechanicals annual offerings to venues all over the south east, which included their annual visit to Crowhurst Rec in July?
It all looks so simple but in fact is a highly sophisticated use of medieval theatrical techniques applied to modern situations.
Their latest creation, Gentle Harry’s Farm, was yet another stunning example of their style, from the dialogue, the original music, the versatility of the players in their masks, swift changes from character to character (very often from human to animal and back again) and their commedia del arte “business” particularly those clicking slapsticks.
All the more astonishing when one remembers that Pete Talbot, their director, starts each year with a blank piece of paper and in a few short months write the script and much of the music, engages the actors/ musicians, oversees all the technical aspects and produces and directs the whole into a coherent, entertaining and original performance.
This year’s offering was much closer to home being set on a farm on the South Downs in 1941 and had a certain Enid Blyton quality, with echoes of their Famous Five show of some years ago. It had all the usual ingredients: young gals home from boarding school for the hols, one besotted by a cad who, of course, gets his comeuppance in the end and a robbery by incompetent villains chased by even more incompetent policemen, with the swag being eventually recovered. But it was the portrayal of the animals, rather than the humans that was so outstanding.
Within the story we had lugubrious cows, co-existing with chattering sheep, watching the antics of the humans with curiosity and the occasional intervention, while the most magical and technically accomplished magpies swooped with wings outstretched over the whole affair, viewing it with a highly contemptuous avian air.
All together another Rudes’ success much appreciated by the Crowhurst audience.
– John Spall
Krysia Mansfield Autumn Cabaret – 23 September 2011
This occasion saw our Village Hall transported (in a theatrical sense) into an intimate jazz club when the amazing talents of Krysia Mansfield and her Combo arrived there.
Trained in Australia as a mezzo-soprano, Krysia is enviably versatile and, apart from singing for us, has also devised and performed original theatre and music pieces at venues in both Sydney and London, offering a wide range of singing styles from soul to jazz, operatic and classical, not to mention acting.
Right from the start with her dramatic and surprise entrance from behind the audience with Habanera, one of the memorable songs from Bizet’s Carmen, through to Bobby Troup’s classic Route 66 (with enthusiastic audience participation!), she entertained us in a royal fashion, accompanied by her three talented instrumentalists on keyboard, bass and percussion. Their skills were truly revealed when they had the stage to themselves for an electrifying few minutes. The audience was delighted to hear that Terry, the bass player, knew Crowhurst well, having practised on Wednesday evenings at the Village Hall 40 years ago!
As on previous occasions, the catering team excelled itself in producing an attractive and tasty supper for both entertainers and audience. Once again, CCA has shown how successful it is at punching above its weight and attracting a huge variety of premier events into our small village.
– review by Tim Knaggs, originally published in Crowhurst News Oct 2009