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Here’s The Thing

Roar writer Kiren Graziano reviews “The Play’s the Thing”, put on by the King’s Players Society.

P. G. Wodehouse’s “The Play’s the Thing”, directed by Maggie Wainwright, went on last weekend in the Anatomy Theatre & Museum on Strand Campus. This was the final show that the King’s Players Society will be putting on this year, and I am so pleased I had the opportunity to see this wonderful production.

The Anatomy Theatre & Museum provided an intimate setting for the antics that ensued. With the smaller audience allowed by the space, it felt as though you were a part of the show rather than just a spectator. Being up close and personal whilst food was being thrown and glasses were being smashed made for an exhilarating audience experience.

This play, set in 1924 Italy, focuses around a group of six staying in a castle to celebrate the opening of their new opera. The trouble begins when the prima donna and an actor are overheard in the midst of an affair. Playwright and main character, Sandor Turai, then scrambles to save the prima donna’s engagement to his nephew.

Now, when I think back on this performance, the acting is the first thing that comes to mind. The entire cast filled each role perfectly, with every person encompassing their character seemingly with ease. The chemistry between Turai (Evelyn Sulway) and his collaborator Mansky (Sofia Cavanna) was palpable, the comedic timing of the eccentric butler Dwornitschek (Katerina Kamysheva) and the frantic secretary Mr. Mell (Conor Walsh) had the whole audience in hysterics, and the tragic story of the three lovers Ilona, Almady and poor Albert (Michelle Messerer, Rivers Donovan-Grewal and Atharva Miskin) was portrayed hilariously by the players. I have to give the cast a big congratulations on their performance; it had me, and the rest of the audience, laughing through all three acts and even some more after that.

The production of the show should also be noted. The sets, the lighting, the costumes and the properties (“to use the more technical term”), all contributed to creating the perfect atmosphere. I found the more meta nature of the show made the details of the painting of a window on the wall and the real food used in scenes that much more impressive.

Additionally, the sets crafted by Charlie Raca and Jixuan Lu, the lighting done by Harry Rowland and the costumes coordinated by Alfie Cherry helped draw the audience into the show even more. From the hilarious lighting cues at the end of the second act to the matching robes of Turai and Mansky, it was clear to the audience that the crew paid an immense amount of attention to detail in every scene of this show. The production team, led by producer Charlie Raca, have a lot to be proud of with this show. The performance ran smoothly, and nearly all aspects of the production added to the comedic nature of the show.

Now I’d like to give a giant congratulations to the director and assistant director of this fantastic play, Maggie Wainwright and Zoe O’Sullivan. Everything I’ve mentioned above would not have been possible without the guidance of these two King’s Players. They’ve directed a fantastic show, and it’s a shame we won’t be seeing more from these two until next year.

“The Play’s the Thing” was one of my favorite shows put on by the King’s Players Society this year. If you were lucky enough to have seen it, then you’ll certainly agree with me that it was a remarkable performance, suited perfectly to close the year on a high note.

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