The Naked Facts About........

The Naked Truth

Theatre Severn

Thursday 19th-Saturday 21st May

 

As a member of the gender that is challenged to attend this show if they dare. I as a male, felt suitably dared. Do I wish I hadn’t been?.............Read on.

The Naked Truth is a robust and hard hitting play that takes on issues considered to be of a female only interest.  Whether these are solely female issues is questionable. I think all people are susceptible to cancer, (breast cancer, less in men but it happens) domestic violence and self-esteem issues.

The framework set to explore these issues is that of a Pole Dancing night-class. Through fractious relationships all the way through, it intersperses a real life narrative amidst a highly unlikely group of close compadres.

I suppose the message being that; humans can overcome all adversity so long as someone comes and shows them the way. We would all benefit through life if only that little protective bubble, that in reality is rarely there, would envelop us and lead us to peace. However it doesn’t and suggesting other might be dangerously erring on the side of the whimsical.  More of the narrative later.

Characters were strangely drawn relying on almost every kind of stereotype. We had the plump, gobby one, the surly one who peppered the air with profanities, a girl so dipsy you had to have wondered what she had taken and of course there has to be, the blonde with more nous than she was ever initially given credit it for. A little more grey ink instead of just black and white from the pen of playwright Dave Simpson, might have eased that concern.

However given what she was working with Director Lisa Riley (Emmerdale) certainly knew how to direct the best out of these players. Whilst one might not have warmed to the characters personally, one is aware that what one is seeing is a masterly display of stagecraft from all the players.

Starring Vicki Michelle (‘Álo, ‘Alo,) and Faye Tozer (Steps,) the story meanders through a series of rather weak encounters and exchanges, occasionally interspersed with powerful deadly hitting messages. Sometimes the switch from high comedy to low tragedy was too fast and left the audience feeling duped. They had been made to laugh and then hit hard with real causes. It caused a little discomfort at times.

Uncomfortable change of tempo notwithstanding, the business that the show dealt with certainly found its way into the psyche of the majority of the audience. This is evidence that the show has value and worth. One just feels a little sorry for the cast with the way the script leapt between issues and clunked and clicked like an old Grundig reel to reel.

Faye Tozer was elegant, sensitive and every bit as amazing as one hoped she may be. She played her part so delicately. She was a woman who although  was great looking with a beautiful body, had to deal with such a lot of rubbish from her rubbish man. She found that melancholic area between comedy and tragedy that all thespians dream of finding. She was a star.

As was Vicki Michelle:  Afraid of ruining the story if you have your tickets, I will not tell you why I thought Vicki was good. Perhaps other than that she dealt with the backstory of her character in a way that was rare with poignancy and sensitivity.

However, the characters were all a little unlikely and the settings for some of those characters even less likely.

One wonders how a man, Dave Simpson, can write a show that claims to be only of interest to women? The question that presents is why should he know? But the publicity did work. If really keeping men away was the objective,there really were only about thirty men in the rather full building.

Maybe those issues aren’t gender specific at all; and by actually not telling men not to come they may sell twice as many tickets. It’s always a gamble to eliminate fifty percent of the population to your work.

One technical note wanted attention. When an actor leaves the set in a darkened state, suggest the door gets closed behind. Then people won’t see the cast having delivered their lines, skipping back to the dressing room. A mistake that anyone is capable of and it affected the performance none. It was however, seen.

This show runs for two more nights. Go and get your tickets and see if you agree with me.

This is a Three Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

 

 

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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