Wednesday, 18 September 2013

'Thark' Park Theatre ****

The newest playhouse in London, the Park Theatre has had a brilliant and highly successful opening season. The current production in this exciting new venture for Finsbury Park is 'Thark' an 1920's farce by Ben Travers and it's a lovely play to have watched. The play is set in two quite different locations, the first being a stylish Mayfair flat and the second being Thark, a supposed haunted mansion that even the faint hearted wouldn't even dare to step over the threshold. The narrative is wonderfully clear and I think this is due to Travers' delightful words and Clive Francis' script adaptation. The dialogue is highly amusing and this is because of the lovely performances by the company. I must convey to you that out of the performances I have seen in summer 2013 I have never seen such a cast who have played their roles with such diligence. I particularly liked the scene where Sir Hector Benbow (Clive Francis) and Ronny Gamble (James Dutton) are sleeping in the haunted bedroom at Thark and the acting is highly convincing which leads the story on so pleasantly 'so to speak'. I think that the direction by Eleanor Rhode was magnificent as she has directed a production that captures the essence of the roaring twenties that can appeal to the contemporary audience with such panache. She and her cast seem to have rehearsed this production with such thought and attention that I could not fault the performance and direction whatsoever.  The shows designer Cherry Truluck has crafted a production with such a limited amount of stage space with such success. However I would have preferred to have seen two individual sets for Sir Hector Benbow's flat and Thark but with the such limited budgets in the arts these days, unfortunately, I can understand the difficulties of having two sets but on the whole a good job.  I value the quality of this production and as the run is coming to end very soon I would book now to avoid disappointment.

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