13th September 2014
Stone Revellers Musical Theatre
St Michael's Hall, Stone
Type of Production
Author: Rob Lawton for Rachel Millar
".....and did those feet in ancient times, walk upon England's mountains green...."
Jez Butterworth's production of Jerusalem was performed by Stone Revellers on 13th September 2014 at St Michael's church Hall, Stone. Directed by Leo Capernaros, this play takes a glimpse at rural England during the annual St George's day carnival which seems to be the highlight of Pewsey's social calendar. Capernaros directs a cast of 14 very talented actors of whom special note has to be mentioned to Alec Voss and Mark Norris.
Johnny 'Rooster' Byron is a kooky, unconventional oddball who resides in a rundown caravan in the woods. An ex-daredevil and local businessman in the profession of narcotic distribution, he is frequently visited by a number of underage patrons looking for hand-outs and a place to forget about life for a while. Surrounded by these misspent youths, Rooster battles with local council officials who are petitioning to evict him from land he calls 'home'. The plot centres around his interpersonal relationships and his own ability to maintain the facade he's become renowned for.
The first thing that struck me about this production was a scrupulous attention to detail regarding the set. I have rarely seen such a small space utilised so effectively by bringing the outdoor, in! The full sized caravan which stood majestically centre stage, surrounded by smashed TV’s and beer cans created an environment most fitting for rooster and his band of merry revellers.
Scene one, and the morning after the night before delivers a welcoming introduction to Rooster and his seemingly one sided affinity with the longest serving tag along of the group, Ginger. This hapless ageing devotee of Rooster is played by Alec Voss and he delivers an incredibly comedic and heart-warming portrayal. His life aspiration is to become a world famous DJ but settles for a life of plastering and absorbing the daily tirade of ridicule and abuse from his 'so called' friends. Voss provides an amusing relief to the darker areas of the story and particularly the mental demise of Rooster played by the exceptional Mark Norris. His anarchic, rebellious and non-conformist personality are delivered with effortless passion and conviction, an absolute delight to watch.
Performances from the menacing Daniel Rich as Troy Whitworth, Paul Williams as the Morris dancing landlord and Helen Sian-Tisdale as the self-righteous Council official, deserve special note. The long suffering ex-partner of Rooster, Dawn, played by Helene Sandy was confidently delivered offering a rare but touching glimpse of Rooster, the family man. Special mention must go to the technical team behind this challenging production who, through use of cleverly chosen music and thematic lighting highlighted moments of comedic brilliance during Ginger's imaginary DJ set.
As a play of two intervals, I do feel that at over two and half hours this could have been made a lot shorter by removing some of the lengthier exchanges between the supporting cast. I however did not finding myself clock watching and enjoyed the production immensely. A true triumph!