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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

KATS - The Shakespeare Review

1st to 3rd August 2002.

From the NWN.

A bit of Bard language

KATS' 'The Shakespeare Revue', at Kennet School, from Thursday, August 1 to Saturday, August 3

By the time this review appears you will have missed the chance to see one of our best local amateur companies in action. It is your loss. As entertainers in the traditional sense of the word, the cast of this production had it all.

The sketches and songs relating to England's famous Bard, from whose works everyone can dredge up a quote and KATS did came from such comedy greats as Victoria Wood, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Maureen Lipman, the Fascinating Aida girls, and a host more, including, surprisingly, Richmal Crompton.

Having good material is not, however, enough, you need actors who can communicate the fan to the audience and here this company excels. Puns abounded my favourite was Tony Jones in a striped swimsuit, flippers and an enormous swimming ring flapping across the stage with a cry of 'Once more unto the beach'. OK OK it's corny, but we laughed our socks off.

Much work had gone into the choreography for the chorus numbers resulting in slick movement showing off the excellent costumes. (Chairman Trevor Eggleton told me that KATS have recently thrown away 1,000 costumes to make room for more). A few chorus members did forget to keep smiling, but the overall effect was bright, colourful, and well - rehearsed.

There were absolute gems - Jacqui Fitzgerald and Janet Kilgallon-Brook in the 'Shakespeare Master Class', with Janet (who had voice problems) learning to invest the word 'Time' with immense Shakespearean meaning; Mark Lillycrop, with Janet, Carrie Marsh, Sue and Val Williams enquiring 'And How is Hamlet?', and then producer/directors Claire Bowden and Mandy Cole getting the audience to join them in the hilarious 'English Lesson'. What a time that must have taken to get right!

There were occasional difficulties in hearing for those farther back and my personal belief is that £2 is far too much to pay for a programme, however attractive, but hey, this was a big, beautiful show. Claire, Mandy, musician Martin Eggleton and all those who took part, on stage and off, deserve all the compliments which will come their way for reminding us what fun good amateur theatre can be.