This is my first full-length London production, produced on a shoestring budget, and in a rather hidden away venue. But with 3 & 4 Star reviews coming in I'm extremely happy!
The thing that's made me happiest is that critics have all loved the actor's portrayals of their characters, and that praise is well deserved. It was a real pleasure watching Andrew Thorn, Dave Short & Josh Harper in action last week, and I hope they keep having fun until the end of the run on 18th November.
I've already spotted script adjustments I'd like to make, and another production can be bigger and better, but for now I'm satisfied that the director, Kasia & I have done our best, and it's showing in the feedback we're getting from audiences. The critics are always a bit harder to please, but I think we've done pretty well so far :-)
Review by Terry Eastham ****
‘A magical evening of wonder, suspense and good old-fashioned theatrical fun’
Well, what a fascinating story The Mysterious Gentleman is. J N Maskelyne was a real-life person who did all the things spoken of in the play – including getting the phrase to ‘spend a penny’ into the English language. He is an amazing character in his own right and, when the mysterious ‘extra’ bit of his family ‘story’ is added by writer Jarek Adams, then the stage is set for an amazing tale.
Review by Claire Roderick ****
‘This is a magical gem of a show’
Writer Jarek Adams takes us from the very beginning of his career through to his death in a magical and entertaining production. The relationship between JN and George is beautifully written.
Review by Simon Scott
The play is written with a gentle wit, be it in the friendly chiding between George and Maskelyne, John Nevil’s contemplation that his lasting legacy will have more to do with public conveniences than conjury, or his delight at being described as a self-publicist. It does not shy away from its undertaking though. Maskelyne is introduced to us as a sceptic, but what drives his scepticism is a powerful desire not merely to believe in a hereafter, but to know it exists. Maskelyne’s decline, however, and his apparent descent into madness, through paranoia about losing his edge to younger magicians, and his scepticism crumbling as he approaches death, is delivered with strength and conviction.
Review by Howard Loxton – who loved the stage magic
‘What these guys do with cardboard boxes and dexterity is worth watching’
These are actors not David Copperfield but they give you a play and a magic show: talk about actors’ timing—they’ve got it down to the microsecond.
Review by Joanna Hetherington
‘Overall an entertaining production’ ***
Images courtesy of James Hall