REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
by Paul Sirett music by Ian Dury and The Blockheads.
Nottingham Playhouse Wellington Circus NG1 5AF To 7 April 2012.
Tue-Sat 8pm Mat 7 April 2.30pm.
All performances Aaudio-described, BSL Signed and Captioned.
Runs 2hr 25min One interval.
TICKETS: 0115 9419419.
Review: Jen Mitchell 3 Apri.
An energetic and exciting tribute to the genius of Ian Dury – a riotous evening that grabs and shakes the audience. Not to be ignored.
This is an ensemble piece – all the cast are on stage throughout as band members and characters from the past and the present – set in 1981, in a friendly Southend boozer. Vinnie and his mates present a tribute to his late father, charting his demise and death from cancer. Vinnie and Colin are avid Ian Dury and the Blockheads fans, as was Vinnie’s dad. The three of them plan a trip to see the band at the Hammersmith Odeon, which for various reasons, fails to come off.
At times a rather convoluted plot, a play within a play – a wife and mother who can take very little more, a husband and father dying from cancer, a son who has dropped out of A levels – against a backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain, would-be anarchists and Fine Fare. Put all of this to a live soundtrack of Ian Dury hits and it takes on a whole new dimension. The growing resemblance between the political scenes of then and now make it all the more potent.
Graeae, the company behind Reasons to be Cheerful, champions the inclusion of Deaf and disabled people in the arts and in this case have put together a hugely talented cast. John Kelly and Barry Robson belt-out the vocals, at times giving their own spin and at others sounding uncannily like Ian Dury. Colin (Stephen Collins), the anarchist and best friend of Vinnie, displays brilliant comic timing and Nick (Daniel McGowan) is wonderfully creepy as the two-timing Tory with pictures of both Margaret Thatcher and Farrah Fawcett-Majors in his locker. Stephen Lloyd is electric as Vinnie – a pogoing bolt of pure energy.
The abilities, and disabilities, of the actors, are visible, celebrated and then become irrelevant in this raw, defiant and life affirming piece of theatre. Talk about Reasons to be Cheerful.
Vinnie: Stephen Lloyd.
Colin: Stephen Collins.
Janine: Nadia Albina.
Pat: Karen Spicer.
Bill/Bobby: Garry Robson.
Nick/Dave (saxophone/guitar): Daniel McGowan.
Uncle Harry (keyboards): Robert Hyman.
John (lead vocals): John Kelly.
Nixon (base guitar): Nixon Rosembert.
Paul (guitar): Paul Sirett.
Paula (drums): Paula Faircloth.
Debbie (signing/dancing): Jude Mahon.
Pickles (describing/dancing): Wayne ‘Pickles’ Norman.
Director: Jenny Sealey.
Designer: Gaelle Mellis.
Lighting: Ian Scott.
Musical director: Robert Hyman.
Sound: Lewis Gibson.
Video: Mark Haig.
Choreographer: Mark Smith.