Revenge – Review

13
March
2020

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Revenge

 



 

Review – Revenge, Theatre Royal Winchester.
Rehearsal images: Lisa Bowerman – Production images: David Fawbert Photography

“Shall I move along a couple of seats so that I’m not in front of you?” – the words of a very kind, elegant lady as we sat in our seats at the Theatre Royal just ahead of Revenge.

Hang on a minute… this lovely lady was none other than Louise Jameson. Yes THE Louise Jameson of Doctor Who, EastEnders, Doc Martin and Bergerac fame who also happens to be directing the play! And she would give us a mini-interview too ahead of curtain up!

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“I’m thrilled to be here. I actually performed in this theatre, but I cannot remember which play I did…” (We reckon it was Corpse! in April 2003)… “I went on the stage earlier and said hello to people. It’s a beautiful theatre. Aren’t you lucky!

“I can’t give you any spoilers,” says Louise, “but we have an exceedingly charming gentleman who isn’t what he seems, visited by a beautiful lady who isn’t what she seems… followed by twists, turns, gunshots, smashing of ornaments and laughter!”

Revenge

Louise says she found the whole process of directing quite challenging, especially with a change of actor right at the beginning of the run: “It’s come on a long way since then… it’s only a two-hander, so it’s quite challenging for them as well as me. They both have to hold the stage for two hours… it’s like doing Hamlet for both of them. They both carry a lot of weight.”

So, as Louise says, there are only two people in the show (apart from a body!) and they are both on stage for the entire two hours, so congratulations to Nigel Fairs (Bill Crayshaw MP) and Kate Ashmead (Mary Stewart) already for that.

Revenge

There are so many twists and turns in this that it would be silly to spoil anything, however – this much of the story is already public knowledge: It concerns Bill Crayshaw MP. He leads a charmed life, he’s hailed in the corridors of Parliament, he’s lauded in business, and he’s loved at home.

That is until he returns from a business trip to find his party agent has been killed in a terrible, tragic accident – or was it?

Then someone called Mary Stewart arrives at his door asking some awkward questions – in reality, is his success founded on murder, corruption and double-dealing?

How does she know so much about the accident –which isn’t common knowledge at the time. How does she know so much about his private life?

Is her motive journalism, blackmail, seduction… or revenge?

Louise is right… the show has come on a long way since the early days when Nigel Fairs had to step in at the last minute and read from the script during the first performance.

The point is that he’s not only learned the lines fully – and there are a lot to learn! – but you would never know that he wasn’t in it right from the beginning.

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He portrays the part beautifully. There’s a fantastic line about press intrusion – and bearing in mind the play is set in 1991, you think that some things never change.

The things that HAVE changed though are all the gadgets we used to use and are long forgotten. Fax machines. There’s one here complete with beeps and transmission noises!

The set is beautiful as well – it wasn’t lost on me that the view from the flat over the Embankment was complete with the lights and a skyline that gradually faded as the evening drew on.

And then the climax. Well, you’ll have to come and see it to enjoy that!

Kevin Gover