Wednesday, 6 June 2012

What is the Mysterious Shadow Formula?

After a day looking round the newly re-designed Fashion gallery at the V&A (more of that in a future post) and going for a meeting to apply for a millinery internship (which I got – again I’ll post about it soon), I headed to the Greenwood Theatre near London Bridge to see The Shadow Formula.

We’d been invited to the press night of this new play by David R. Roberts, on what was to be their second performance, but after some dramatic ‘flying scenery’ their first night had to be cancelled.  The play, set on the brink of war in 1938, is a classic caper of the ‘everyman dragged into a conspiracy... discovering what’s going on [and] running away from people trying to kill him’.  The standout performer was undeniably Edwin Flay who played Cary Donat, the man caught up in an international plot regarding the mysterious Shadow Formula.  Edwin was also celebrating his birthday on the day of this performance, so happy birthday to him.  The main character’s name – Cary Donat was a nice nod to Cary Grant and Robert Donat.  A reference to these two great actors is especially fitting as the play has themes of an innocent man pursued after being falsely accused, much like ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘The 39 Steps’.

 Cary Grant wearing 'That Suit' in another
Hitchcock classic, 'North by Northwest' (1959) 

 Robert Donat in Hitchcock's 'The 39 Steps' (1939)

The ladies' costuming was particularly good, with many of the ladies wearing quite luxurious furs.  The gents were not left wanting though, with Claude the barman (Gabriel Keogh) sporting a rather fetching Noël Coward style dressing gown in one scene!  Nancy the baglady (Hannah Rees) and Arthur the paperboy (Jack Richards) provided comic relief at the start of the second act, Arthur had a wonderful cockney swagger - worthy of being a character in itself!

I was particularly impressed with the sound design (Kirsty Gillmore & Sounds Wilde) and the actors’ use of space – not being limited to the stage.  The entire play was set to a wonderful soundtrack including Al Bowlly’s ‘I Can't Get Mississippi Off My Mind’, ‘The Hawaiian War Chant’ and ‘The Sheik of Araby’.

There are performances on 7th-9th and 14th-16th June with a BSL signed matinee on th16th.  The matinee will be signed by Wendy Ebsworth MBE, a sign-language interpreter whose stage credits include signing for the English National Opera, the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Court.

And you’ll just have to go to a performance yourself if you want to know what the mysterious Shadow Formula is...
steel boned corsets by What Katie Did

1 comment:

  1. Hi Miss Doherty,

    I had a bit of a different take to you on the play:

    But it's good to see we agree that the costumes at least were very nice.