City Slices and Country Crumbs - theatre review

London Grey and Green Theatre Company this week presented 'City Slices & Country Crumbs' at The Hen & Chickens theatre. Directed by Charlie Ely and Tessa Shrubsall, the very different 15 minute plays fitted together pretty well; although the last one shown, 'Chelsea & Henriette' by Wendy Thomson would have been better placed in the middle of proceedings in order to support the fragmentary nature of the piece.

We started out with 'Milk' by Judy Upton. This story begins with a lactose intolerant girl (Natalie Sheriff) and a dairy farmer (Ben Fensome) meeting as lovers in some kind of parallel dystopian setting, in which 'real' milk has been fiendishly replaced by some sort of 'substitute'. Although the story has serious points to make, given our contemporary fixation on foods and their sources, it is also pretty funny too. And its success as a play is in the comedy created between the two leads. However, the comedic dynamic of the play goes up a gear when 'Dr Rowland' (Felicity McCormack) explains to us why our milk is being replaced; much to the chagrin of our dairy farmer. Somebody then mentions chickens..''Dont ask''....

Next up is 'A Little While Longer' by Melanie Hunter. Marjory died in 1932 but is still around, somewhere between this world and the next. This solo performance by Samantha Leverette was touching at times; and the actress gave real depth and pathos to the role. Whilst doing her housework in purgatory, she elaborated on her short life, and the hard lives of those she loved, not sure that she's ready to leave just yet.

The next work was Camilla Whitehill's' The Seaside'. Set in Hastings (although this story could be anywhere), 'The Seaside' explored the lives of two young people of the kind we all know. Luke (Nicholas Clarke) is the 'older-than-he-seems' rebel; slightly alpha male, stuck in a rut. Arsing about in a provincial town, he berates the younger Amy (Nicola Coughlan) for being 'just another Hastings girl', whilst she is obviously the more mature of the two. The story takes place by the sea, and happens in the wake of some alluded to event involving somebody they both know. As they talk, Amy tries to get Luke to cut the swagger and do something with his life. I felt the casting was excellent for this play, and both actors gave really believable performances.

The final play of the evening was Wendy Thomson's 'Chelsea & Henriette'. Chelsea (Georgia Clarke-Day) and Henriette (Natasha Dowd) are two would-be Sloane ranger types, continually trying to keep each other up to date on the minutiae of their high life facade, through the medium of their mobile phones. Although the characters are mildly irritating in the manner of 'Absolutely Fabulous', they are amusing, and provoked much genuine laughter from the audience. We see them constantly trying to keep up with, and out 'IT' each other at every opportunity; on the crapper, whilst abusing servants, drinking etc. Trying desperately not to lose face. The fast pace of proceedings just keeps getting faster, and I thought this worked.

In all of the plays, I felt that the supporting production team was very successful in the staging, props, sound and lighting. Particularly the props.

In conclusion I thought that the audience went away satisfied. Certainly worth the trip to Islington.

Review by
(c) G Hall (2013)


'A Little While Longer' by Melanie Hunter
Cast: Samantha Leverette

'Chelsea & Henriette' by Wendy Thomson
Cast: Georgia Clarke-Day, Natasha Lee-Dowd

'Milk' by Judy Upton
Cast: Ben Fensome, Felicity McCormack, Natalie Sheriff

'The Seaside' by Camilla Whitehill
Cast: Nicholas Clarke, Nicola Coughlan

Charlie Ely - Co-Artistic Director / Director - 'A Little While Longer' & 'The Seaside'
Tessa Shrubsall - Co-Artistic Director / Director - 'Chelsea & Henriette' & 'Milk'
Berengere Ariaudo De Castelli - Associate Producer
Alysha Laviniere - Assistant Producer
Patrick Gooden - Deputy Stage Manager / Sound & Lighting Designer

Image copyright Andrew Patrick @AndrewPatrick1

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