Moby Dick - Rehearsed, C3
American Students tackle Orson Welles' script of a play of a book thought to be unperformable and step into the shoes Gordon Jackson, Kenneth Williams, Patrick McGoohan, Christopher Lee and Joan Plowright with a bravery and gusto that can surely only be shown by those who have no idea who their predecessors were.
Thank God for their Yankee energy though, because my word it was long! The actors carry their audience through the more sedate and contemplative sections of the script to lead up to a rip-roaring climax of whale hunting as Ahab and his crew go down with the beast their captain has so single-mindedly hunted.
Kudos for casting Chad Jones as Father Mapple, possibly America's tallest man, ensuring there is no need for a pulpit as he is already several feet taller than the reat of the cast! Excellent work by Zac Hoogendyk (just for having that name!) as Ahab, Katherine Miles McPherson as Pip (never has a small black boy been so convincingly played by a blonde, white actress with a tambourine) and Brooks Asher as Starbuck (hats off to the inheritor of Noddy Holder's sideboards). Special praise, however, for Micah B. Hardt as the exasperated, slightly manic Stage Manager and third Mate Flask, keeping ship and theatre together with determination.
Be warned, however, there is a fair amount of singing goes on in this production, some of which could easily have been cut to reduce the running time (what is it about August that means one's attention span is reduced to 60 minutes?). Worse, some of it seems entirely bizarre, especially a song about women when half the crew are women! Suspension of disbelief becomes very difficult with a cast of radiantly beautiful students.
If you like whales, Welles or just ogling college girls (or boys! I'm assured) this is a show you'll very much enjoy.
NTW : The student's origins mean there's no chance of a sly Williams impersonation slipping in (sit Ryan MacKenzie down in front of Carry On Doctor and let's have the carpenter declaiming "ooh, cap'n Ahab, look at your thing, it's gone all limp, let me run my hands over it and I'll have it stiff in a jiffy! Nah, stop messin' about") Also don't put all your mates in the best seats. They'll laugh and clap anyway, and some of them are spectacularly ugly in a way only Americans seem to be able to be. Having a "Dramaturg" listed in the programme. (Can I just put NTW : They're American, take your pick! ?)
JTD : So that's what a lightning sheet looks like!