Review: The Madness of George III – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, declares Shakespeare’s Henry IV, but it’s the Bard’s King Lear that provides the redemption for the troubled head of King George III in Alan Bennett’s historical epic.

It is now 20 years since the play was first staged at the National Theatre and it’s been rarely performed since. Last year, a budget touring production received a luke-warm reception but now The Peter Hall Company’s acclaimed Theatre Royal Bath production hits the road and it proves to be a much more majestic affair.

As the Crown loses control of the American Colonies, so the Monarch also begins to show signs of losing his composure. Subtle at first but, as the mania grows, the future of the Monarchy itself is at stake. It takes an unorthodox medical intervention to offer both King and Country hope of recovery.

For a play that has become synonymous with Nigel Hawthorne’s original performance, both on stage and on film, it’s a challenge for any actor to step into the role and make it his own. David Haig, however, takes the challenge full on and delivers a performance of incredible depth and detail. His is a Monarch clearly troubled by the burden of power, totally convinced of his divine right to rule but also tempered by a desire to understand his subjects.

Of course, The Madness of George III is more than a one-man vehicle and director Christopher Luscombe has brought together a strong ensemble that provides amble support for Haig’s central performance. There are well observed outings, including among others, Beatie Edney as the devoted Queen Charlotte; Christopher Keegan as the playboy Prince of Wales; and Clive Francis as the unorthodox Dr Francis Willis. It is a universally accomplished company, however, with fine performances across the board.

Janet Bird’s design conjures up a simple regal elegance, with palace opulence suggested by framed flats and oak-panelled doors. The simplicity of the design, shaped by Oliver Fenwick’s lighting, allows for a fluidity of movement across Bennett’s multitude of locales, while a series of impressive tableaux conjure up impressions of a Gainsborough portrait.

There are moments in Bennett’s script that seem to be unsure if they belong to a historical drama or a bawdy comedy but, overall, it’s an epic piece of historical drama that also manages to portray the deeply intimate. Luscombe’s production also echoes the large scale while also focussing on the isolation of the monarch.

This is a production that returns Bennett’s classic to its rightful place on the stage in a staging to remember. A tour that you would be mad to miss.

Originally published on The Public Reviews

Review: The Merchant Of Venice – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas goes the saying, and in Rupert Goold’s exuberant transplanting of the neon-lit Nevada Strip instead of the original Venetian backdrop, the dark dealings played out in the Merchant of Venice seem ideal to remain behind the casino doors.

Except Goold chooses to play the racism, romantic fantasy and corporate battles that form one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays in full public glare.

It is a staging that has, and will continue to cause consternation for purists, but the Vegas setting and vibrant production makes this most difficult of Shakespeare’s play’s wholly accessible.

Venetian trading halls are transposed into the gambling dens of Vegas as Shylock, despite his business success, finds that his Jewish faith closes more doors than it opens. It provides a backdrop for resentment and distrust that permeates the entire play. Money may buy you many things in Vegas, but it is no match for the institutional anti-Semitism that is prevalent in the society. What Shylock’s money does provide, in the form of a loan, is the opportunity for young Bassanio to try and win the hand of Portia, transformed in Goold’s production as the host of a reality TV game show called Destiny. In a hybrid of Blind Date and the National Lottery, Portia, bedecked in blonde wig and high school prom queen outfit, offers her hand in marriage to potential contestants.

As Shylock calls in his debt, the awful truth of how the money was secured is revealed and, once the cameras stop rolling and the wigs and make up are removed, Portia is left with the shattering reality that her Bassanio may in fact be more in love with trader Antonio than he is with her.

Goold’s knack of integrating strong visuals with an accessible approach to the text is again in evidence here. Alongside the relocation and the multi media there are other inspired choices here. Shylock’s servant Launcelot played as an Elvis impersonator may originally seem a gimmick to far, but as the dream dissolves into nightmare, the accompaniment of Presley numbers provides a suitable backdrop.

Patrick Stewart doesn’t shy away from making his Shylock a resolute character, unwilling to bend away from his perceived right, its not a likeable characterisation, but neither should it be. As Antonio Scott Handy brings a subtle sensitivity to the role, willing to risk everything for the friendship of Richard Riddell’s Bassanio.

There are also strong performances from Susannah Fielding as Portia, barely clinging onto reality, and Jamie Beamish as the rhinestone-suited Elvisesque Launcelot.

Tom Scutt’s design impresses, providing enough Vegas sparkle without overpowering the piece, Rick Fisher’s lighting adds an almost Broadway musical feel to the piece and Adam Cork’s score adds enough Vegas showgirl feel to cement the setting.

This Merchant of Venice may divide the traditionalists but for ingenuity and accessibility you’d be hard pushed to find a finer production than this. Well worth taking a flutter on.

Review: Bomber’s Moon – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

A Bomber’s Moon – a bright full moon that sheds light even on the darkest of nights. It’s an appropriate title for a play that sheds light on the pain of growing old, the darkness of a life ending and the regrets that haunt those twilight years.

Jimmy is a World War II gunner, shot down on his penultimate bombing raid in the Nuremberg raids. Having spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp, he now finds himself confined again, this time in a sheltered housing flat, a man of fierce independence and pride now reliant on the care of others.

Into Jimmy’s life enters David, his new carer. Fresh into the caring profession he soon finds the text book and reality are two entirely different beasts and that Jimmy isn’t entirely the frail patient he initially suspects. From a fragile start the two develop a strong bond, Jimmy explaining more about his wartime exploits and David revealing his own dark secrets. It’s a touching a tender relationship but also harrowing to watch as both Jimmy and David descend into their own respective darknesses.

William Ivory’s script isn’t for the faint hearted, pulling no punches with strong language and an even stronger look at the ravages of regret, but it proves to be an utterly compelling and rewarding journey. Multi-layered, revealing many hidden and repressed secrets over 2 ½ hours, it’s a constantly shifting relationship between the two men and at times its not clear who is caring for who.

Director Matt Aston makes great use of Laura McEwen’s simple but effective set, which combines Jimmy’s flat and a suggestion of the rusting, riveted hulk of his Lancaster bomber. James Francombe’s lighting provides plenty of atmosphere together with some nice touches such as the transformation of the door window into a full moon and the shadow’s of Jimmy’s ceiling fan thrown into a representation of the bombers propellers.

Paul Greenwood gives Jimmy a wonderful depth. Outwardly caustic and fiercely proud but inwardly full of fear and regret, Greenwood makes Jimmy harrowingly real. Tim Dantay’s David is initially the bright shining light of the caring profession but as the evening progresses, his mental decline becomes equally as disturbing as Jimmy’s. Both men are onstage virtually constantly for the entire piece, a remarkable achievement that is never less than totally gripping.

Switching between present day and the terror of the wartime bombing raids, this is a journey that covers considerable ground but it is the strength of the interaction and relationship of these two men that makes it wholly believable and in the end utterly harrowing to watch. It does though also prove to be strangely affirming and a demonstration of how friendships can endure, despite the biggest of challenges. A truly remarkable and illuminating piece.

Review: Season’s Greetings – Norwich Theatre Royal

You can choose your friends but not your family. Despite the blood ties it’s surprising that clan gatherings don’t come with a health warning. Or at least that’s the impression Alan Ayckbourn would give us with his bleak look at the familial festive gathering.

Hostess Belinda is frantically trying to marshal her husband and assembled guests over four chaotic days over Christmas. It’s a toss up what will last longer, the turkey or the strained relationships.

Her husband would much rather be in his workshop, her sister-in-law has only a slight grasp on reality, Uncle Harvey is a gun totting television addict, and her sister has invited her latest mystery man to join the dysfunctional family for Christmas. Add in a pregnant best friend who is barely on speaking terms with her alcoholic husband and the one game unlikely to be played is happy families.

Ayckbourn’s piece is now 30 years old and, although the themes of family strife still resonate, it does at times feel more like a vintage sit-com rather than biting humour.

While much of this is down to Ayckbourn’s gentle script, director Robin Herford plays the piece fairly low key, allowing the absurdity of the characters to drive the comedy. While it provides a naturalistic approach, creating scenes that many in the audience will be able to identify with, it does sometimes underplay the comic potential. There’s a fine balance between turning observational comedy into farce but the notch could be turned up a couple of marks here. There is an undercurrent that behind the tinsel and fairy lights barely repressed emotions are ripe to explode, though in this production you never really get to see the spark that will ignite the pyrotechnics.

Glynis Barber gives her Belinda an air of the perfect housewife though, just below the surface, the desire for a precision planned gathering burns a yearning, unrequited desire for love.

Mark Healy as husband Neville gives a subtle performance, capturing a man who would rather play with electronics than face his marital issues.

There are nice cameos from Sue Wallace as Phyllis, the drunk sister-in-law whose antics in the kitchen instil fear into all the guest and from Barbara Drennan as Pattie, abandoned by her husband to look after a brood of (unseen) unruly children.

There isn’t really one character here that you would want to spend any time with, let alone be stuck in a house over Christmas with, yet one has to wonder how many people in the audience recognise character types in their own families.

Despite the somewhat underplayed comedy and a dreadfully weak ending, Season’s Greetings allows us all to relive those countless stressful family gatherings and take solace in the fact that, however bad those festivities may have seen at the time, compared with this group of social misfits it was indeed a Merry Christmas.

Originally written for The Public Reviews

Review: Dick Turpin’s Last Ride – Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

There’s two sides to every story. Dick Turpin. Romantic hero or thief and murderer? As history passes and tales get embellished what’s real and what has been embellished to fit the agenda of the storytellers themselves?

Just a few days short of the 306th anniversary of his baptism we still owe much of what we think we know about this countries most infamous highwayman from countless romanticised films and novels.

Daniel O’Brien script instead takes a look at the real man and the contradictions in the more populist and rose tinted versions. In a tavern, years after Turpin’s execution, three authors are disputing the true version of events. William Harrison Ainsworth has published a glowing account of Turpin’s adventures that have outsold Dickens, Thomas Kyll has taken a more investigative approach while Richard Bayes claims to have the inside story but how he came across it is a mystery.

Through the eyes of these three writers we piece together the true facts of Turpin’s life, migrating from burglary to his more infamous highway robbery. It proves to be a much darker tale than we are used to with Turpin and his gang happy to turn to violence, extortion and even rape to get their means. By the time Turpin moves into more familiar ground of the highwayman all notion of some populist hero has gone out of the window.

Composer Pat Whymark weaves music throughout the piece with a series of songs and ballads that manage not only to combine an authentic feel of folk melody of the time but also provide a haunting timeless quality to the piece. The musical score transforms an already gripping story into a thrilling piece of theatrical narrative.

Director Abigail Anderson’s production delivers much from a simple setting and small cast making great use of Dora Schweitzer’s scaffold multi-level playground. As reflects the constant movement of Turpin’s flight, Anderson keeps the pace fast and fluid, building up tempo and claustrophobia as the net tightens on Turpin. Kitty Winter’s movement adds to the sense of equine flight while Mark Howland’s lighting provides beautiful vistas of shadow and texture.

The five strong ensemble work perfectly, creating over 55 characters between them. Jack Lord is suitably dark and brooding, though tempered with some surprisingly tender touches evident in his bonding with his trusty mare Black Bess, brought vividly to life with a sense of equine grace by Loren O’Dair. Julian Harries, Richard Pepper and Morgan Philpott as the three disputing authors (and a multitude of other townsfolk) also impress with their quick-fire characters.

Forget any preconceived notions you may have, Dick Turpin’s Last Ride proves to be a gallop through the life of one of Britain’s most notorious villains but a ride filled with vivid characters, a gripping script and a lush, evocative score that will leave audiences breathless. The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has shown that you can create theatrical magic with relatively limited resources, but as they prepare to send this highwayman back out onto the road it is on the back of a thoroughbred.

This is one ride you should definitely be in the saddle for.

Review: 20th Century Boy – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Okay, a caveat to start. Being a wee toddler when Marc Bolan was at the height of success before his tragic death in 1977, the music of T.Rex has never really featured high on my list of musical choices. True the big well-known numbers appear on the radar and I’ve nothing against the music, it’s just not a band or singer I know anything about apart from those numbers.

20th Century Boy, a brand new musical that follows Marc’s son Rolan on a journey to learn more about his father’s life and music therefore seems a perfect opportunity to delve deeper into one of the most successful bands of the 1970s and their colourful lead singer.

Sadly though, despite the best efforts of a highly talented and energetic cast, this newcomer to the Bolan catalogue is still left largely in the dark.

Peter Rowe and Gary Lloyd’s book (Lloyd also directs the piece) follows an adult Rolan journeying from the USA to trace his father’s life from his childhood in the East End of London to the fateful car crash that killed him in 1977. While we follow the story of Bolan’s roots in the music business, his successes and ultimate failure to capture the American market, we never get to understand the man or what drove his outwardly arrogant persona.

Outside of the musical numbers Rowe and Lloyd’s script fails to bring this journey to life. Dialogue is clumsy, the structure predictable, and we never get an insight into the emotions or drivers of these characters.

Those familiar with the period and the music may find all this doesn’t matter but, for those coming to this as a fresh story it makes for a disjointed, confusing and somewhat unsatisfying 2 ¾ hours.

Musically, the cast excel. As Bolan himself George Maguire delivers a gripping performance, full of arrogant swagger and enormous self confidence. Donna Hines also impresses as Gloria, Rolan’s mother while there is a beautifully touching moment with Craig Storrord’s Rolan singing a duet with his father. It is this moment and a couple of other musical numbers that take flight from their original T.Rex arrangements that the material shows real potential as a stage musical – the moving Dandy In The Underworld performed as a choral eulogy to Bolan shows the potential to rearrange the well-known songs and integrate them into the drama to drive narrative, rather than have them as stand alone tribute performance like much of the show.

For Bolan and T.Rex fans, or for those willing to put aside the lack of dramatic clarity and just enjoy a tribute concert, there is much to enjoy here. For those new to the era and looking for a insight into one of the 70s most colourful and perhaps, despite his bravado, least understood performers 20th Century Boy is unlikely to provide much illumination.

It’s perhaps a show that will divide opinion for large sectors of the audience were clearly loving the show, others though, like this reviewer were sadly left cold and confused, admiring the musicality but missing the heart.

Photo: Hugo Degenhardt, Tim Bonser, George Maguire, Matthew Ashcroft and Steve Simmonds in 20th Century Boy. Picture by Mike Kwasniak

Review: Decade – Commodity Quay (Headlong Theatre)

911, The American number to dial in case of emergency. 9/11 – a date indelibly seared in the minds of those who witnessed the terrorist attacks in New York. At the time of the attacks, breakfast was being served in the Windows On The World restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when the first plane struck. 164 staff and guests were in the restaurant at the time. None escaped the disaster.

It is into an eerily accurate replica of the Windows On The Word restaurant, audiences for Headlong Theatre’s Decade enter. Designer Miriam Buether has once again created a totally immersive experience, one that is not entirely comfortable to those who recall the now lost restaurant. In a transformed trading hall in St Katherine’s Dock writers have been invited to give their response to 9/11. Despite the numerous pens, it turns out to be a cohesive and gripping evening. Twenty authors are credited but this is a shifting work, the published script containing plays not included in the final performance.

Director Rupert Goold, who conceived the piece with Robert Icke has stitched these numerous pens together into an evening of powerful theatricality. The writers themselves offer a variety of approaches; verbatim recollections from eye witnesses and survivors, political and religious rhetoric and every day New Yorkers who are coming to terms with the aftermath of 9/11.

Providing the structural glue to the piece is Matthew Lopez’s look at three widows annual meeting on each anniversary. Sometime it is difficult to comprehend the scale of large event such as this, therefore by focusing in on a smaller group it makes it easier, though no less painful, to comprehend.

Given the many hands, it is at not surprising that Decade is at times uneven and that some of the plays would benefit from being cut or even removed without loss to the whole, though the overall scale and humanity of the piece make these minor niggles.

Goold has assembled a strong ensemble, all of who provide the myriad of characters with carefully drawn detail. Performing in and among the audience, there is a conviction here that can’t help by move.

This is epic theatre with a real intimate, emotional heart. Goold orchestrates the numerous strands and together with choreographer Scott Ambler provide a constantly flowing piece that holds attention throughout the three hours. The production sensibly avoids any attempt to recreate the attacks themselves, instead relying on Adam Cork’s effective soundscape and haunting images of actors frozen looking in horror at the sky.

In a week where we are awash with material on 9/11, Decade provides a remarkable evening looking not only of the events of that fateful day but of the wider impact of terrorism, patriotism and loss.

Ten years on and the events of that fateful September morning still resonate across the world and impact or everyday lives. Decade will also live long in the memory of those who have seen it, words and images that vividly portray the sheer grief and tragedy of that day but also the hope and humanity that untimely overcomes.

Review: Rock Of Ages – Shaftesbury Theatre

As the song goes ‘We Built This City On Rock and Roll’ but, for new musical Rock of Ages, it proves to be a flimsy foundation.

A tribute to the big-haired 80s rock power ballads, Rock of Ages lands at the Shaftesbury Theatre fresh from success on Broadway. The show, while having a loose plot line about a threat to a Hollywood club earmarked for redevelopment and its cleaner who has dreams of becoming a rock star, also turns into a parody of the musical genre. Characters frequently address the audience and mock the conventions of traditional musical theatre. There’s potential here for a real satirical look at musicals but sadly the show never really progresses beyond a lively compilation show.

This duality hands the reviewer something of a quandary, to review the construction of the show, a show that never takes it self seriously, or the performances.

It’s more of a quandary than normal as the two elements, though of course interlinked, are at polar opposites.

Let us tackle the more successful side first. There’s no doubt that the producers have assembled a cast of great skill and boundless enthusiasm. Despite their more conventional musical theatre pedigree, the company convince as authentic rockers, belting out the material with impressive power and energy.

Despite the star billing of Shayne Ward and Justin Lee Collins, neither are the real stars of this show. Although both turn in impressive performances, and both displaying surprising comic timing, their roles are little more than support acts. Oliver Tompsett as wannabe rock god Drew sings up a storm though the burgeoning relationship with reluctant stripper Sherrie (Amy Pemberton) never really convinces.

There’s also strong vocals from Jodie Jacobs as protestor Regina and Rachel McFarlane’s Mother. Holding the show together and providing an ironic look at the format is barworker turnered narrator Lonny, played with delicious irony by Simon Lipkin. A strong ensemble and onstage band provide the much-needed musical power to rock the Shaftesbury. The dance numbers are suitably energetic and the cast are obviously having fun with the material.

Sadly it is the material that lets the production down. While Chris D’Arienzo’s book attempts to poke fun at musicals, it never manages to fully succeed. Characters are two-dimensional at best and the plot never fully engages, instead being nothing more than a vehicle on which to hang the music. At one point Lonny says he trained to be in a show looking at emotions and character development but instead is in a show singing Whitesnake numbers – and he hits the nail on the head exactly. While you don’t go to a show like Rock of Ages for Chekhovian drama, you do need characters you can at least care for; otherwise you are only watching a tribute concert, however well performed.

There are some ingenious touches to the show and a real party atmosphere in the theatre but, however much you admire the talent on stage, it’s hard to see this show surviving long in the current economic environment of a competitive West End market.

For those seeking an antidote to the sugariness of Glee, the rock finale of Don’t Stop Believin’ may provide a long-haired antithesis but every rose has its thorn and for Rock of Ages it will take more than power ballads to save this show.

Please note: This is a review of a preview performance on 7 September.

Review: As You Like It – Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

All the worlds a stage, and the current touring cast of The Globe Theatre’s As You Like It have certainly taken the Bard at his word, taking their Elizabethan booth theatre up and down the country playing in stately homes, gardens and castle grounds.

As autumn sets in, they head indoors, bringing the Forest of Arden to the Georgian interior of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. Utilising a small cast, minimal props and basic set this is touring as Shakespeare would have known himself; a small band of wandering players creating their own theatre wherever they went. It’s a concept the Globe have been exploring over recent years and it does focus the attention on inventiveness and language.

As you Like It, is in many ways, Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy; thwarted love, mistaken identities and enough love triangles to keep the most fervent of romantic authors in material. It’s a challenging piece with a full scale cast, but the pressures on a small cast are intense, though here the doubling works well, with clear delineation between the characters.

Director James Dacre sets the production in late Victorian dress and there’s an air of Lark Rise to Candleford to the piece; a bygone age of innocence and rustic charm. The approach, though, does rob the piece of some of its darker undertones, concentrating as it does in delivering the comedy with a boisterous air.

As the pivotal object of affections, Jo Herbert works well as Rosalind and her alter ego Ganymede, a mix of control and childish playfulness that revels in teasing those around her. Herbert’s snaring of Orlando transforms into a true homily to love.

Gunnar Cauthery’s Orlando is a man devoured by love, desolate at the thought of losing his beloved Rosalind and determined to go to any lengths to win her back. There is also fine support from Emma Pallant with a deeply moving Madame Jacques and a fierce, looks could kill at 10 paces, Phebe and Beth Park’s put upon Celia.

As befits the comedy, there are two show-stealing performances from the more obvious comedic roles, Gregory Gudgeon’s lusty fool Touchstone and a scarily authentic seduction of a bearded Audrey (John O’Mahoney) providing pure comedic delight. The sight of O’Mahoney bedecked in floral dress, ginger wig and full beard is an image that will remain in the mind, for better or worse, for a long time.

For a company that has been touring predominately outdoors, interior venues such as the Theatre Royal do take some adjusting to and there are moments when the ‘outside voice’ would benefit from being dialled back a couple of notches.

There’s nothing radical about the As You Like It, and other productions in the past have perhaps made the piece more accessible but The Globe have once again staged a production that meets Shakespeare’s original brief, to provide good quality, entertaining drama.

The focus on text and character demonstrate that one doesn’t need large casts, epic sets and a budget of millions to provide an evenings entertainment that will send audiences out with a smile on their face.

Just beware the flying cake.

Photo by Fiona Moorhead

Review: Rhinestone Mondays – Mercury Theatre, Colchester

All that glistens isn’t gold and, in the case of flamboyant line dancing costumes, it could easily be Rhinestone. Sadly, with new musical comedy Rhinestone Mondays the promise of sparkle also turns out to be equally hollow.

Over five Monday evenings, a line dancing club desperately try and get their cowboy boots synchronised ahead of a major line dancing convention in Bognor Regis. It doesn’t bode well that this mixed bag of dancers have little in common with each other and even less coordination.

The group are desperate to invoke the American Dream but this isn’t some Texan Rodeo, instead a dingy social club bar, desperate to cling onto the handful of remaining customers it has.

Against the battle of the tasselled boots and rhinestone jackets, class teacher Annie and local karaoke singer Tom are locked in their own romantic scuffle. And that’s about the sole level of emotional understanding we get about any of the characters. Writer Joe Graham has created a series of stock comedy stereotypes rather than any three dimensional characters. A comedy grandmother, a nervous slipper-clad singleton, a camp tap dancing Welshman, an obsessive film fan, and a predatory cougar. We never get to understand what drives any of the characters, what draws them to this odd assembly, or even what message we are supposed to take away at the end of the night.

At the heart of the piece there is a workable stage comedy but, oddly, for a billed musical it would work so much better if the songs were ditched and more time spent on developing character and plot.

The musical numbers aren’t helped by the karaoke backing track arrangements that the cast valiantly sing along to, nor the musical staging that sees many of the numbers performed in a fixed solo spotlight, that somehow manages to cut off many of the performances.

For a successful ‘jukebox’ musical, the numbers need to seamlessly integrate into the action and either drive the narrative forward or provide commentary on the drama, apart from a couple of brief moments here (renditions of John Denver’s Annie’s Song and Tammy Wynette’s standard Stand By Your Man) the musical arrangements are so mismatched that all they supply is a leaden weight to the piece.

There is a – literally – show-stealing performance from Shaun Williamson as barman Brian, while Faye Tozer and Anthony Topham are vocally strong and try their best with the limited material as lovers Annie and Tom. There are also strong vocal performances from former New Seeker Lyn Paul and Tozer’s fellow Steps bandmate Ian H Watkins, though neither manage to flesh out any depth to their paper thin characters.

The cast do try valiantly and a spirited finale coaxes the audience out of their seats for an obligatory line dance but the lingering feeling here is that the show could have been so much more but needs considerable work if its lengthy UK tour is to be a success.

In Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell sings about offers coming over the phone; sadly that phone isn’t likely to be ringing with bookings, and on this showing, this is one line dance you won’t want to get in the queue for.

Photo: Ian H Watkins in Rhinestone Mondays. Photo by Robert Day