Nicky’s Showbiz Diary: It’s been Show busy!

This column is a little later than usual, purely down to my busyness, or showbusyness as I like to call it. Over the last week I have seen seven shows, conducted five interviews and also met my first deadline for the Greenwich Weekender.

I’ve also done two restaurant reviews and hobnobbed with the stars at the Chelsea Flower Show as well as recording my weekly segment for BBC Radio Kent.

My feet have barely touched the ground and with three deadlines in Dorset looming my writing head has become a little frazzled.

It’s been fantastic but with a house move also getting ever closer, I have begun to panic about getting everything done.

Luckily there’s always a helpful person around to advise you on how best to manage your workload. I’ve had at least eight people ask if I’ve thought about writing a list and I’ve had to stifle my sarcasm about the wonderfully in-depth counsel!

Anyway, the shows I’ve seen lately have been a mixed bag. I watched the tour of The Play That Goes Wrong (excellent), The Addams Family (sensational), Richard III (a bit slow), The Color Purple in concert (amazing), Samantha Barks Live, with special guest Kerry Ellis (great), Judy! (fantastic) and a show I’m not going to mention, because it was so bad, I had to leave at the interval for fear of a hysterical attack.

I watch a lot of amateur shows, so I’m used to things occasionally being rough around the edges, but this ‘professional’ production was so poor, I felt it best not to pass comment on it at all.

The Celebrity count has been very high this week too, because I went to Chelsea Flower Show on Press day.

Sadly, I was on my own so I couldn’t engage in the hilarious celebrity touching game and there were few famous faces I hadn’t seen before. I guess I’ve got so used to seeing celebs now, that it would take the likes of Madonna, Kylie or RuPaul to really get me excited.

Joan Collins looked amazing among the roses in the main Pavilion however and Kelly Brook seemed very friendly as she supped on bubbly. It was nice to see Peter Kay again wandering around in the sunshine and I was a bit in awe of Paralympic Gold Medalist Ellie Simmonds.

I always find it funny that if you walk with confidence, people assume you’re someone worth looking at and take a second glance to check whether you’re famous or not, so yes, I did pretend to be someone, with my head held high. It’s the simplest little games, which amuse me!

Next week, a work experience minion is joining me in the form of my teenage daughter, so my London trip will be filled with food and drink stops. I’m seeing Wicked again (well, 26 times just isn’t enough!) and Woyzeck at the Old Vic, starring John Boyega. I’m then off to see Miss Meena and the Masala Queens at Greenwich Theatre, which looks fabulous.

You can read all of reviews and interview on my website and follow me on Twitter for all of the latest news @NickySweetland


Review: “A hilarious display of stage wizardry and slapstick showmanship”★★★★ The Play That Goes Wrong, Exeter Northcott

Anyone who has been involved in live theatre knows the thrill. The excitement that at any given point something could wrong and that each time you set foot on the stage it’s as if you are stepping over the precipice. Mischief Theatre has made an art form of the impeding misadventure, which befalls those who embark on making theatre.

Their first foray into the world of disaster performance The Play That Goes Wrong has gained a plethora of plaudits and recently received a Broadway Transfer. The production, which is still packing them in at the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End is also enjoying a hugely popular nationwide tour and is delivering buckets full of hilarity to the Exeter Northcott Theatre this week.

We are called to witness Cornley Polytechnic Drama Club’s attempt to stage a 1920s murder mystery entitled Murder at Haversham Hall. As you can gauge from the title of the production, everything does not go to plan and with a catalogue of mishaps and misdemeanors the show erupts into a hilarious display of stage wizardry and slapstick showmanship.

The panic felt by a company when a production doesn’t go to plan is perfectly illustrated with pregnant pauses and terrified faces from the excellent ensemble cast, who expertly deliver an intricate team performance. Alastair Kirton as Cecil, and Katie Bernstein as a very willing stagehand really stand out, but the interplay between all of the cast members is first-rate.

Nigel Hook’s astonishingly adept set design provides the platform for some heart stopping spoofs and the ingenious detail on each prop makes even the smallest mishap become a hilarious scene-stealer.

The continuous fast paced and silly physical comedy may not tickle everyone’s funny bone, but for those who like their slapstick in large helpings, this is a must see.

The Play That Goes Wrong at Exeter Northcott Theatre until 20 May