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The Young Visiters at The Tabard Theatre – Review

The Young Visiters
Jake Curran, Marianne Chase and Geordie Wright in THE YOUNG VISITERS. Picture credit Tom Sutton

Rough Haired Pointer’s The Young Visiters is a must-see for all ages. I have never heard a London audience laugh so often at the theatre. The show is meant to be seen through a child’s eyes, as most know, but what is especially interesting is the way director Mary Franklin’s vision and imagination truly was on point with how a child would think. A child has no boundaries, everything is larger than life as generally everything is larger than them and lines between reality and interpretation are heavily blurred. This is how Franklin directed and created this adaptation.

It was seen from a different angle, from entrances, to props, to lighting. The imaginative use of the small stage was astounding. The details she poured into the smallest of moments made for such an entertaining show. These moments could have been overlooked but Franklin added her unmistakable eye giving creative detail to them. The show had color and an animated feel to it.

Do you recall when you were younger and everything was just a little brighter? Colours and sounds everywhere had whimsy and the smallest things seemed magical and mesmerizing? This is what Franklin has done with this show.

From curtains, to hat box entrances and exits, to coconut sound effects, heights of entrances, conga lines in a never-ending same direction, showers and blankets, costume play, struggling through crowds, cups of tea thrown in the air and dodged, boat oars, juggling handkerchiefs and my favorite – the beautiful scene change created with only four bouquets of flowers. How a child’s brain sees and interprets is what was seen on stage with the coupling of some teenage hormones, some Alice in Wonderland creative wonder and a definite eye for detail.

The cast is outstanding. Sophie Crawford depicts wonderfully the innocence of a child. Marianne Chase’s dancing is not to be missed. Jordan Mallory-Skinner’s multitude of personalities are as wondrous as they are diverse. Though he be but one actor playing a dozen roles, they were each so different and entertaining that if this reviewer had to say it, she’d confess his interpretations of these small roles to be her favorite. Jake Curran’s ability to be the lovable loser of love was upbeat, humble and successfully mastered. Geordie Wright recites the sexiest prayer I have ever been privileged to witness. Andrew Brock acts interestingly as a pillar to the show onstage, like a rock grounding the cast, or more fittingly, a strong butler who makes the house run smoothly.

See this show. Bring the children, bring the adults and bring the fabulous. There is something for everyone at the Tabard until March 26th.

4 stars

Review by Julie Bergevin

The Young Visiters is the most famous book in history written by a nine-year-old. Daisy Ashford was a precocious Victorian child, and her comedy of manners giving a child’s-eye-view of the adult world was championed by J.M. Barrie and first published in 1919 (28 years after it was written), complete with idiosyncratic spellings. Now imaginative young company Rough Haired Pointer (Diary of a Nobody, Fred & Madge) are giving London audiences another chance to see their acclaimed adaptation of this cult book at The Tabard Theatre in Chiswick for four weeks only in March.

Mr Salteena is a very elderly gentleman (of 42), “fond of digging in the garden and parshial to ladies if they are nice”. He and his young, somewhat snobbish friend Ethel Monticue (who has an unhealthy passion for “ruge”) go to stay with a young Lord, Bernard Clark who is “inclined to be rich” in his “sumpshous” house, where Mr Salteena hopes he will be helped up the social scale and thereby win Ethel’s heart. While he is packed off to be given some London polish at the Crystal Palace by one of Bernard’s friends The Earl of Clincham, speaking looks are exchanged between the young pair and Mr Salteena’s plan is inevitably foiled.

The Young Visiters is full of innocent – or not so innocent – double entendres and Ashford’s eye for adult absurdity has real comic bite. Rough Haired Pointer revive their first production with a young cast of six, bringing this funny, ridiculous story to vivid life, after the success of their recent Diary of a Nobody, Peter Barnes’ Noonday Demons (King’s Head) and Joe Orton’s Fred & Madge (Hope Theatre).

Rough Haired Pointer presents
Adapted and Directed by Mary Franklin
Designed by Christopher Hone
Lighting design by Seth Rook-Williams
Cast: Andrew Brock, Jake Curran, Marianne Chase, Sophie Crawford, Jordan Mallory-Skinner and Geordie Wright.

Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LW
Tuesday 1st – Saturday 26th March
Tuesday-Saturday at 7.30pm; Saturday matinees at 4pm (except 19th March).
Running time: 90 minutes, without interval


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