Tom Davenport

Acclaimed theatre critic TOM DAVENPORT returns to give the DL on the latest shows.

ADC Alex Owen Barbour henry scarlett pied piper Tamara Astor

After the soaring success of my review of the Prolapse in February, senior management at Tab HQ ordered their most intrepid and fearless reporter to dive back into the fray that is the theatrical scene.

This week saw the opening of the 2010 Stagelamps Christmas Phantom-Mime Show: The Pied Piper (who loves) Gambling. Inexplicably the show was written by three foot lights. ‘I never knew inanimate electrical appliances had such a capacity for topical humour within a traditional and popular format,’ commented one surprised theatre-goer.

The opening performance was met with very positive critical acclaim; one critic exclaimed (incidentally while off-duty and half-way through the second act) that it was looking ‘very positive.’

Through the haze of talent, there is one member of the company who has stood out above all others. The Director, Willham Seewood, summed up the sentiments of audiences and critics: ‘Everyone has put in a lot of effort to make this play work. Above all however I must thank Tom Davenport for his sublime contribution as third clarinet….I would pick out his G sharp in bar 262 of the fourth song as a moment of particular brilliance.’

Equally, Davenport’s B flat in the sixth song (incidentally his only note in the second act) has been called – strangely enough by no less than 23 different commentators –  ‘one of the most illustrious moments in the history of the ADC since Barry Jones castrated himself live on stage with a fake guillotine in a production of Les Miserables in 1984.’

‘As soon as I first heard him play his four notes,’ said Henry Mauve, Musical Director, ‘I knew he was right for the part. I just knew.’

‘A lot of people would have backed down at the prospect of such an important series of notes. But he nailed it from the word go,’ added Composer Ben Batkinman.

Also in the play with minor roles were Ben Carorvan as the Pied Piper (who loves) Gambling, Alex ‘Quite Good’ Owe-one as the Bat King, Astro Tam as Rude-Boy and Ted Abbey as Frown Auberge. They performed alongside Harry Kath, Alex Collie (who shot to fame with his direction of The Prolapse last year) and Barbour Dan.