As the lights went down and the curtains opened to reveal a dark minimalistic stage, I heard voices behind me saying “I hope it’s as good as the book”. The Gordon Craig Theatre was about to bear witness to Factor 2025, the stage play based on the latest novel from comedian and author, Johnny Tait.
The darkness represented the mood of the author and his distaste of reality talent shows, the minimalistic set represented the need for only one thing, talent…..or was it?
Set in the audition stages of a floundering TV show, of the same name, we meet the show’s host and founder, Trenton Powell, played by Johnny Tait, himself and his beautiful young assistant Melissa, played by the talented actress Laurie Skelton. The honest Melissa wanting the best for the contestants, but Powell only thinking of ratings and the desire to wave farewell to Sunday afternoon on Channel 5. I don’t intend to give away too much of the plot as that would be defeating the object.
Tonight was the official launch of the novel Factor 2025 and the play will have the people of Stevenage and further afield, talking and encouraging their friends to buy the book.
Johnny, an ex Redcoat and entertainment manager, still travels the length and breadth of the country, entertaining packed theatres with his cheeky cockney comedy and his passion for this shines through during the show and his views on reality TV.
But a talent show wouldn’t be, without a stream of artistes and entertainers who are willing to “sell their souls to the devil” and fall at the feet of a reality show Guru like Trenton Powell, who will stoop to any depth to get what he wants, breaking numerous hearts and souls on the way. This show was no different, we met an array of talent, including a black German comic, a singer with Tourette’s, a brother and sister duo, to name but a few, and when the multi talented rock singer Podge Smith, turned the tables on Powell it revealed yet another twist in the tale. The song at the end of the show, written and performed by Jaz Alice was pure inspiration and summed up the story completely, and we all knew that the novel Factor 2025 is destined to be a best seller.
So get your copy of the book and keep an eye out for the next Theatre to present Johnny and his amazing troupe of entertainers, you won’t be waiting long…..
Reviewed by Tony Lutkin