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The Removal Service livestreaming from Maltings Theatre

The ever-inventive Maltings Theatre, St Albans has decided that, Covid or not, it will livestream three productions during March, one of which, The Removal Service, is not only a new play but the first professionally staged play written by Alice Briganti and Will Pattle, who is also one of the cast members.

The Removal Service photo by Elliott Franks
The Removal Service photo by Elliott Franks

The director, Luke Adamson, says that when he first read the script he “laughed out loud… hated and loved the characters in equal measure” and indeed in performance it proves to be a remarkable piece of writing even for more experienced authors. It flows smoothly, has plenty of variety and action and the characters are true to life and believable, even if perhaps there is some unnecessary strong language! The play deserves to be much more widely seen than this production and one hopes that, post-Lockdown, it will transfer to a fringe theatre in London.

Much of the success of the staging is due to Luke Adamson’s direction which irons out some of the less well-written moments of the play, and especially to the superbly imaginative yet simple designs of Simon Nicholas’ black and white see-through set, enabling the audience to be aware of all the action that the playwrights and director intend, even if it is actually offstage. Adamson says that the play reminds him of Orton or Pinter in the way that it is dark and funny and never lets the audience settle, and the spotlessly clean set greatly aids this interpretation. Nicholas is also responsible for the excellent live stream, even if the sound is often a bit ‘shouty’ as if the actors think that the audience at home is actually at the back of a large theatre!

Greg (the co-author Will Pattle) and Zeek (Chicho Tche) attempt to rob a house on the outskirts of London but a terrifying discovery ensures that they get more than they bargained for! Prattle is very believable in the role, getting many of the nuances in his own script as well as the laughs. Tche gives him able support as his accomplice and both are aided in secondary, though no less important, roles by David Widdowson and Felippe Pacheco.

Luke Adamson says that he is “very excited about the potential that online streamings have for engaging audiences from further afield… gives them the perfect opportunity of seeing what we do…in St Albans”.

This new play is well worth searching out, either as a download or on YouTube.

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Disguised as removal men, brothers Zeek and Greg attempt to rob a house on the outskirts of London, but a terrifying discovery flips the situation on its head and they get more than they bargained for. A fast-paced, darkly comic drama about family, deceit, morality and un-bottling the truth.

THE REMOVAL SERVICE
Writers:
Alice Briganti, Will Pattle
Director: Luke Adamson
Cast:
Will Pattle
Chicho Tche
David Widdowson
Felipe Pacheco

THE REMOVAL SERVICE available to download March 14th to March 27th
https://maltingstheatre.co.uk/

Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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