17 September 2008

The Pretender Agenda by Christopher Manoe

Kate - Emily Aston
Mel - Lucy Benjamin
Gina - Sue Devaney
Robert - Scott Hinds
Piers - Ben Jones
James - Vincenzo Pellegrino
Stuart - Lee Ryan

Directed by the writer, Chrstopher Mano and designed by Tim McQuillen-Wright
seated someone in the middle of row E

The opportunity of a free ticket to this reminded me that I had often meant to check out this venue. For something tucked under the arches, I was surprised that this enormous barn/corridor of an auditorium lacked in atmosphere but we were only about 10 per cent full so it's unfair to judge. The bar was cosy and the staff were really lovely.

I don't think I'd like to meet Mr Manoe. I suspect he is rather pleased with himself and possibly with good reason, but not for his scripting talents. I get the feeling he is an entrepreneur who thought it might be easy to write something. Some of what he does came off but was dreadfully let down by weak cast members. It was a difficult thing to stage because dramatic scenes in kitchens and bedrooms were virtually performed in the wings while the more pedantry stuff was in the middle of the stage. Lee Ryan seemed to think he was on some kind of Jim'll Fix It star turn and his constant staring at the audience and other actors who were supposed to be in different rooms was downright unprofessional and very distracting.
Emily Aston seemed to think she was in a completely different play to everyone else with her pantomime gurning and I couldn't settle with Sue Devaney's performance though I am not sure why. The rest of the cast made a lovely effort to hold the thing together and it did make for an amusing evening.

Given the choice, I would rather have been at the Ivanov press night!