Lion and Unicorn Pub, Kentish Town
There is nothing more satisfying as a theatre lover than to see clear-cut evidence that good writing really does stand the test of time. First performed in 1943, While The Sun Shines is a gloriously quick-witted and funny play. Filled with mishaps, misunderstandings and miscommunications the piece allows us as audience members to be the only ones blessed with an unmuddled perception of occurrences.
The play begins at the “morning after the night before”; the eve of the young “Bobby” Harpenden’s (played by Freddie Hutchins) aka the Earl of Harpenden’s wedding to Lady Elizabeth Randall (Greer Dale-Foulkes). From the moment we are introduced to the duvet-dressed Lieutenant Mulvaney (Iestyn Arwel) we know this house will soon be experiencing “one of those days”.
My first “Star” of this production has got to be the Director, Marieke Audsley. Currently studying an MFA at Birkbeck College, it is clear that Marieke will become one of those generous and attentive directors that actors strive to please and strive harder still to work with again. The direction was clearly a celebration of Rattigan’s blueprint of a successful play, cutting the fussy frivolities that so many directors weigh down on their productions these days in order to prove the presence of “concept”. I’m sure any writer would be thrilled to have as much attention paid to the details and subtleties of their script, and I’m sure that Marieke will form many good bonds because of this chosen approach.
It seems unfortunately rare that a play doesn’t have the “sore thumb” of talent sticking out from its company of actors, and this is the whole reason behind the birth of “Char’s Stars”: to recognize those who went the extra mile, the ones to watch. This production is a welcome exception to such prejudice as it has no weak link, no “sore thumbs”.
The actors have effortlessly carved complex and wonderfully real characters that cause you to be immediately immersed in everything they do. But perhaps the most important element to their work was their mastery over the comedy of the play. These actors concentrated on the consequentially funny rather than the immature (often stuck to) playing for laughs. The script is effortlessly funny in itself and this intelligent bunch left it at that, rather than bringing the drum in for a lot of “Boom Tshh!” cringe worthy moments that David Brent would appreciate.
I really do implore this company to tour with this show, and hope that everyone will have a chance to see it to see how it should be done. Watch your backs people, because serious talent is lurking in Kentish Town shadows…