Tag Archives: Clock Tower Theatre Company

Review: Shed Man at Sherman Theatre by Gareth Ford-Elliott

(3 / 5)

Shed Man by Kevin Jones is a view into the head of a man who lives the most mundane of lives. He has a job, a wife, two kids and is building himself a shed. Sometimes, we all just need to build a shed and hide.

The script truly is a beautiful thing. The attention to detail is exceptional and the small nuances of the script are what makes it so powerful. There are funny moments, but a darker undertone – which is really becoming a defining feature of Kevin Jones’ writing and is extremely effective.

The script is the outstanding aspect of this production and it is an interesting view into the mind of a man who, on the outside, is extremely mundane.

The design team for this production is solid. Josh Bowles’ sound design is becoming a regular these last couple of years on the Cardiff scene and I’m all for it. Here, the use of music for transition works well and the rest of the sound portrays scene and emotion to good effect. The sound is nothing incredible, but it is not supposed to be.

Cory Shipp’s set is exactly what you’d expect and sets up this mundane world. A garden with a white fence, a shed and a few bits that get played with. It’s straightforward and again adds to that sense of mundane life. The lighting from Louise Swindell changes subtly, and again, is simple, yet effective. It compliments the nature of the script well, but again, is nothing groundbreaking.

Perhaps more could have been done on the design front, but then the whole production, lead by Siobhán Lynn Brennan, is directed in a very plain and realistic way. There is nothing overtly wrong with this, however it could do with something different. This is a script that could be interpreted in many ways, and because of that there is no clear answer to how this could change for the better.

As far as the acting goes, again, it does the job, there is nothing wrong with it and makes for an enjoyable performance. However, there is a clear choice from Brennan to keep this realistic, when the characters aren’t exactly realistic.

Brian (Benedict Hurley) is a man who, besides the first and last scene, is going through an anxious episode. Mother Pat (Siw Hughes) and boss Mr. Tatum (Joe Burke) are caricatures of real people existing in Brian’s head. Wife Emma (Chrissie Neale), whilst never appearing in Brian’s head on stage, is portrayed simply as a “nice wife” with no real depth. This all works in the hour of script. However, in its transition to stage something has been lost.

Pat and Mr. Tatum are fairly plain characters, showing no depth, little character motivation and little logic. But that is the point, because that is how anxiety works. Pat might be an overly clingy mother after the death of her husband, and Mr. Tatum may be an annoying boss who sends his employees on pointless tasks in real life. But in this hour of theatre, they are caricatures – and that is how it should be.

Benedict Hurley is the only actor really challenged by character depth and he handles it fairly well. However, there are moments that could have been driven home more. And more subtleties from the script that are there in words, but not action.

Generally, the character interaction, movement on stage and minor physical details could be worked on. There are moments that felt awkward. There seems a lack of physical characterisation which could really enhance this piece. However, if the director wants us to think everything happening on stage is real, until we find out it’s not, then Brennan succeeds.

It’s hard to say exactly what Shed Man ‘needs’ to step up a level. This script truly could be interpreted in many ways. Brennan is an exceptional director and the actors are great too. But something just isn’t clicking here.

The running time of sixty-minutes is fine. But perhaps a slightly shorter time that gets the point across and allows more space for the characterisation of Brian, the protagonist, and gives less time for the lack of characterisation of other characters to become exposed, would be more effective.

That said, this is still an enjoyable piece of theatre and the script alone makes it worth seeing. It is the type of production that some will like and some won’t. I fall somewhere in the middle. The mundanity is beautiful, and something that I believe is more dramatic than typically dramatic situations, if it is handled in the right way.

On another note, it is really heartening to see a company like Clock Tower performing in the Sherman. A beautiful company committed to new writing, who have produced some truly excellent work, deserve all the best. A fitting first company to be part of the Sherman’s new ‘Get it while it’s Hot’ programme.

Shed Man is a thoroughly enjoyable watch, brilliant script, not without its issues as a production.

Shed Man is an important play for 21st century Britain. The issue of mundanity is the biggest unspoken struggle. It is a “first world problem”, but any issue in any human’s head deserves to be spoken about. And nobody should have to build a shed to hide from the world.

Shed Man by Kevin Jones
Performed at the Sherman Theatre
Tickets: 13th – 17th November 2018
Presented by Clock Tower Theatre Company
Directed by Siobhán Lynn Brennan
Produced by Steven Bennett
Designer: Cory Shipp
Sound Designer: Joshua Bowles
Lighting Designer: Louise Swindell
Assistant Director: Umalkyhar Mohamed
Assistant Producer: Lauren Lloyd

Review Service Episode Four: Fire Walk, Cardiff Fringe by Kaitlin Wray

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(4 / 5)

After the success of Episode Three: Taking Stock, I saw at the start of my Cardiff fringe theatre festival, I was excited to watch Episode Four: Fire Walk. I was not disappointed in the slightest. The story line was even crazier and funnier than the first one. The writing  by George Infini is incredible, he knows exactly what will make the audience laugh.

One of the great things about this show and Episode 3 was the little sketches at the beginning. It sets the scene and gets you right into the show straight away. The ‘forbidden’ romance between Steven and Gene, played by Grant Cawley and Isabelle Paige escalated even more. It got to the point where Gene had to ask for Gavin’s help, played by Sam Harding. This whole interaction was hilarious and got the audience fully immersed with their romance. All actors stayed true to their characters from episode three and it felt like I was watching a series. For episode four there was an additional character called Marshall acted by Jonathan Dunn. His character fitted perfectly with the old manager, Jackie, played by Susan Monkton. They worked as a double team which felt the need to torment the restaurant staff in every way possible. They were a perfect combo that had some marvellous quirks added to their characters.

Even though it was a short comedy it told a great story and the ending left us wanting to see more. This is a well collaborated group where everyone has put in their time and effort into creating a great performance. It was wonderfully directed by Steve Bennett who added even more comedy moments to the already remarkable writing. I thoroughly love the collaboration between Infini Productions and A Clock Tower Theatre Company. I will be looking out for them in future productions.

Review Staff Room-Clock Tower Theatre Company by Kaitlin Wray

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(4 / 5)

Every child wonders what the teachers talk about in their lunch break, do they talk about them? Do they even get on? Well, Staff Room by Clock Tower Theatre Company explores this concept. This was a show that played on teacher stereotypes with bundles of laughs, great one liners and a comical storyline.

Firstly, any theatre company that opens the show with System of a Down’s ‘Chop Suey’ is a winner in my eyes. Michael Taylor, playing Paul the physics teacher walks in with his headphones in blasting this song. I believe this song was a perfect way to reflect on how the character was feeling at the time.

Next we see Chris Powell playing Mark, the sports teacher. It seemed that Marks whole ambition is to annoy the likes of Paul by constantly chucking cups and paper airplanes. This was a great introduction to the performance and really sets the scene for the comedy to unfold.

The guy that really caught my eye though sounded like the philosophy teacher John Lawrence, played by Osian Edwards. His over dramatic nature when he was being the narrator in the short story in the play was hysterical. It was really fitting within his character. Nicola Lean, playing the ‘motherly-like’ teacher reminded me of many teachers I had at school. Furthermore, what’s a staff room without a romance brewing? Paul, is in desperate love with pretty maths teacher named Sarah, being played by Hari Hodgetts. Each actor played their character perfectly to the teacher stereotypes.

This show was a bundle of laughs that really took you back into your high school years. It was fun and easy to watch.

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Cardiff Fringe Festival 2016, Service 3: Taking Stock by Kaitlin Wray

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Image by www.jonathandunn.net

(4 / 5)

So my experience of the Cardiff Fringe Festival started off with a bang! Watching a collaboration of Infini and a Clock Tower Theatre Production they showcased, Episode Three: Taking Stock. It was a great way to relax and have just a bundle of laughs. This was cleverly written by George Infini who devised some outstanding witty comedy with a great set of characters.

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This quick paced farcical short play showed four different characters with contrasting  personalities yet when put together are highly amusing. There was the playful and devious character of Gavin played by Sam Harding, the hilarious love romance between Steven and Gene; two of the geekiest characters that were played by Grant Cawley and Isabelle Paige.  Then there was Susan Monkton playing Sarah, who was perfect at playing the character everyone seemed to dislike. The plot to remove her as manager is entertaining and the comedic twist at the end was just perfect.

Overall it was quite a short performance yet this makes Saturday show of Episode Four: Fire Walk even more exciting to watch. I turned up to AJs Coffee House not knowing what to expect and left with my cheeks hurting and feeling rather entertained.

http://www.cardifffringetheatrefestival.co.uk/clock-tower-theatre-company

http://www.cardifffringetheatrefestival.co.uk/infini-productionsInfini