Playing homage to Jane Austen and the spirit of amateur dramatics, Austentatious is a laugh out loud, hugely entertaining romp full of egos and conflicting agendas. The Watershed Theatre Company is currently performing the UK Amateur Premiere of this new musical at The Grange Playhouse in Walsall. Equipped with a wonderful script featuring many charismatic numbers, the company have embraced the script and delivered on so many levels; vocals are sublime, acting is strong, and there is real chemistry between the performers who so often perform together. The dynamic is all very natural and it works a treat.
Directed by Jennifer Mears, the production centres on the Central Riverdale Amateur Players (‘CRAP’ for short) as they prepare to stage a production of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. The show quickly loses its identity as the focus is lost between the quarrelling players, the majority of whom wish to make their mark in the most inappropriate ways imaginable.
A small band sits comfortably at the rear of the stage and provide musical accompaniment for the talented singers. Though comedy is ever-present throughout the production the highlight is the play within the play, full of frolics, mishaps, and suggestive dancing (see if you recognise the routine!). Stephen Ralph deserves a special mention for his Choreography, and an abundance of admiration should be given to the actors for embracing such challenging and fast paced roles. The show is am dram at its finest, and proof that a night out can be affordable – tickets are £10/each.
In fear of giving too much away all I can advise is to drop everything in order to witness Austentatious. You will leave with a smile and memories that will keep you chortling for days. The final performance takes place tonight – Thursday 6 August, 7.45pm at The Grange Playhouse, Walsall. To book tickets call 01922 625100.
Love Midlands Theatre
Sharing the latest theatre news and reviews around the Midlands.