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Watermill Young Company - Multiplex

10th to 13th November 2004.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Just like the movies

Watermill Young Company: Multiplex, at The Watermill, from Wednesday, November 10 to Saturday, November 13

With the prospect of a multiplex cinema finally being opened in Newbury, it was particularly topical for the Watermill Young Company to stage Christopher William Hill's Multiplex as their latest production.

Commissioned by the National Theatre in 2002, it's a hilarious behind the scenes look at the life of the ushers who work in these cinemas.

The simple set of 'the silver screen', draped with red plush velvet curtains, showing projected clips and trailers of a variety of movies, together with director's chairs, designed by Jules Fuller, was effective.

According to manager Dillon (Oliver Ford-Lane) there are three types of ushers. "There's Plankton, the lowest of the low, then there's Dudes - they're cool but don't know movies, and finally - on top of the food chain there's the Buffs who know everything about every movie ever made".

To them, cinema is not just entertainment, it's life.

King, strongly played by Jon Harding, is the leader of the pack, who plays out his fantasies by making movies using the young ushers as his cast.

Their reactions are projected live onto the silver screen after-hours. A wonderful device that worked well. His 'heavies' are the tough Spike (Alice Bailey) and Elton (Harriet Collins). She is known as Power Gloves, a mean fighting machine, the missing link in women's evolution! Enter new recruit Mouse, a beautiful performance by Carl Callow, whose movie knowledge is photographic and becomes the challenge to King as they struggle for power in the pecking order.

Slowly the ushers' lives and dreams are revealed. Are they real or part of the fantasy world of film? The characters become as complex and varied as the screen stars they are watching. Life really does reflect the movies.

Ade Morris' assured direction is fast paced and inventive, in the trademark ensemble style of the company.
Particular mention must go to the talented Sophie Stone as the deaf Jo-Jo and Rosie McFahan's delightful Twiglet. This was a challenging play for both the cast and the audience, performed with confidence and style by a dedicated company of young people. Bravo.