Iron deficiency

July 22, 2017 | By | Reply More

Perf cancelled as Lyceum safety curtain sticks

The Lyceum theatre’s safety curtain stuck on Friday night, during the interval of the Summer on Stage young company’s double bill, so we reviewed Danny 306 twice.

Despite the best attentions of the back stage staff the “iron”, as it is known in theatre parlance, would not budge in time for the second part of the bill, a performance of Nick Drake’s Success, staged by the older company of the scheme.

The Lyceum’s safety curtain. Not a Success. Pic: Thom Dibdin

The cast remained patiently in beginners positions for the half hour that attempts to move the iron went on. When, at 9.05pm the latest time the show could start, no movement had been made, Success was cancelled.

All Edinburgh Theatre had two writers in the house to cover the shows, with Dylan Taylor due to take up tools for the second play. Not wishing to waste an evening out, he wrote a review of Danny 306 instead.

Danny 306 + ME 4 Eva

★★★☆☆    Comic highs 

Royal Lyceum: Fri 21/Sat 22 July 2017
Review by Dylan Taylor

Danny 306 + ME 4 Eva, directed by Claire Doyle for the Lyceum’s Summer on Stage company, brings out the humour and fun of David Greig’s play with its young cast of performers.

The play opens with a small group of supposed hoodlums who have entered an abandoned hotel. After rummaging around, the group is illuminated by the switching on of a light, which introduces an old woman. The crew performs the play’s first song, and then we are sent back in time to the 1930s, when the hotel was a bright and fully functioning place.

The cast of Danny 306 + Me 4eva in Rehearsal. Photo: Summer on Stage

The atmosphere is powerfully created by Jason Dailly’s set design and the costumes by Kirsty McCabe and Harriet Ogden. With help from Jai Morjaria’s lighting design, the hotel’s elegant, coastal vibe brings the events of the past to life.

The guests and staff of the hotel are a colourful lot. There is an aspiring actress who cannot sing, a pair of humorous maids, a french chef, the proud hotel owner, and a famous Hollywood director Rico Manhattan – whose arrival sends the hotel guests into a flurry of excitement.

The main action revolves around Danny 306, a young bell hop, and Stella, the daughter of the woman who cannot sing. Danny teaches Stella how to have more fun, and soon they begin spending more time together.

The few songs of the production are kept basic by Ross Macfarlane, whose musical direction helps integrate the music smoothly and naturally. The use of voice and piano allows for some vibrant scenes between Danny and Stella. The ensemble of actors, too, comes more fully into character when singing in unison.

energy

There are moments in which the voices of some of the actors can be difficult to hear. At times, too, the actors seem to focus so much on the delivery of their lines that they come across less naturally than they otherwise might. But the energy of the performances, especially once the play gets going, overshadows these minor difficulties. There are some very humorous lines, delivered with a good sense of comic timing.

The two major roles become three-dimensional in the hands of the two sets of performers who play Danny and Stella. This swapping of actors is used to represent the passing of time. The effect at first is somewhat jarring, as there is little else onstage to show that this shift has taken place. Nevertheless, all of the actors are quite capable at making the characters feel real, which lends strength to the progression of the story.

By the end of the play, it is surprising how likeable the characters have become in such a short running time. The last scene, which takes us back into the future, is poignant and heartwarming. The preceding events make the identity of the older woman clear, and her happy ending is made all the more touching and uplifting. With only two weeks to prepare, the actors and production team have managed to put together a nice little play that wears its charm on its sleeve.

Running time: 45 minutes
(Shown as a double bill with Success, by Nick Drake).
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX
Friday 21/Saturday 2w July 2017.
Evenings: 7.30pm.
Tickets and details at: https://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/danny-306-me-4eva-success-summer-on-stage-2017

ENDS

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