Ian Judson Reviews: 2 MEN 2 DOGS & A WOMAN @KARDOMAH: THURSDAY 14TH APRIL 2016

2 Men 2 Dogs and a Woman (1)Lynne Taylor has brought her thoroughly adorable first full-length production to Kardomah 94 to treat the people of Hull with fantastic quality.

The stellar cast of Ryan Mark, Rebecca Huetson, Tim Bettridge, Angie Wallace and Amber Devine bring this very multi-sided story to life in outstanding fashion and make you laugh, worry, hope and cry, all in the same story by showing the full range of their wonderful acting talent.

Considering the difficulties they had bringing this to the stage makes the production even more of a triumph, all of which is totally earned and deserved.

There are two extra characters thrown into the mix and, unlike in many cases, these are actually essential and, despite not seeing them much, they also bring something new to the table.

The direction from the writer also adds to this delightful play and shows the diverse skills possessed by her with great results as tech director Beth Claire negotiates 62 different queues with genuine aplomb.

You find yourself falling almost in love with the characters and hoping and wishing for them as well as laughing with reckless abandon as they take you on a journey that has so many twists, and asks so many questions, that you can’t fail to feel like you’ve been on a super-charged roller-coaster.

There is absolute belief in the dogs despite not actually seeing them on the stage, and indeed, at times, they are a very useful outlet for some of the dialogue and the actions on stage in very clever fashion.

Bettridge is very convincing as Joseph who clearly has a troubled past for whatever reason, which is not revealed until absolutely the right time.

The relationship between Dave (Mark) and Gemma (Huetson) is perfectly played out with some very strong acting as the perfect casting also proves to be another triumph.

The two characters played by Devine are perfectly pitched and provide exactly the right qualities needed.

However, it must be said that Wallace absolutely has her part as the dog trainer Madge Cracknell absolutely perfect with sheer comedy value and wonderful timing.

When the production switches from the stage to the screen, with the help of Feet First Studios, it is all done at exactly the right times, in absolutely perfect context.

The atmosphere goes to and fro on stage and takes the audience with it just when it’s needed thanks to the stunning writing and acting and the dancing scene really is an absolutely hilarious sight to behold.

After this taste of this truly brilliant show, I can only hope it will be back on the theatrical menu again very soon.


Fracked Off image


Ian Judson Reviews: FRACKED OFF @ HULL TRUCK 

Radio Faces Theatre brought their confrontational comedy Fracked Off to Hull Truck Theatre this week with genuinely great result.

This story, penned by Mark Bones and Mick Foston, tells the story of lovable urban warrior Panda and his sidekick Tonto as they take on the frackers on Crawberry Hill near Bishop Burton with some romance, plus some animal urges, thrown in for good measure.

The relationship, for what it is, between Tonto and Panda is well established very early on in the piece, and it doesn’t let up as anarchic comedy scene follows urban comedy scene with great fun and, mainly in the case of Panda, often with hilarious results.

The characters of Annabelle and Janice bring with them romance between Janice and Tonto and superbly performed interaction of mutual, begrudging sexual tension between Annabelle and Panda, usually because Panda feels urges towards the sassy Annabelle but she has a general dislike of him even if she does sort of fancy him in her own way.

Jack Holt seems to struggle slightly with the part of Tonto, as does Tiolina Puteh with the part of Janice but this doesn’t seem to matter very much as they are a quite able support for the headline performances of Luke Gillingham and Abbie Renzo as Panda and Annabelle.

Co-Writer Mark Bones sets up the two lads a treat as a dodgy journalist and then returns to the stage later with outstanding menace as the farmer dad of Janice to cause absolute mayhem just before the end.

The writing is absolutely outstanding and supplies very strong dialogue which suits the characters down to a tee and makes the whole production very believable and you do genuinely care about the characters.

Director Neal Coulman makes a nice job of the scene on video recorded outside a pub which many people will recognise but a particular phone call between Tonto and Janice could be better handled, but that also doesn’t seem important as the production builds a great atmosphere and generates enormous goodwill.

The most outstanding act must go to Abbie Renzo who has had to step in to replace the finely polished Sarah Hicks and has fitted straight into the otherwise thoroughly established cast who performed at Kardomah 94 in November.

Speaking afterwards Ms Renzo said it has been a little bit difficult for her to take over the role: “It has been a bit difficult yep, because Sarah was fantastic at the role and it put a lot of pressure on me, I’ve never played a role like that in my life so it was a big experience for me.

Speaking about the production she said: “It’s great, it’s funny, the part of Annabelle is great to play, not that I would usually play a part like that so I was shocked when I got the part.”

The idea now is to possibly take Fracked Off on the road in the coming months, if you get a chance, go and see it, you will laugh like never before.