By Ross Gumbley and Allison Horsley
Directed by Dan Pengelly
Review Date: 4th November 2017
Centrepoint’s latest production Ropable opened on Saturday night. Advertised as a ‘Killer Christmas Comedy’ you may guess that it’s a bit of a black comedy, and you may not guess that the Christmas part refers to the fact that Centrepoint are bringing it to you near Christmas time...
Adapted for our local audiences’ particular enjoyment, this version of Ross Gumbley and Allison Horsley’s Ropable is set in Shannon with a lot of witty one-liners and colloquial knowledge that weaves extra fun into the show. As young ghost writer Eden Forsyth plans her wedding at the 'Shan In' to celebrity Monty Parker, who has been married a few times before, it seems Eden might be getting entangled in a 'bad romance'. Surprises abound as Norma the manager of the 'Shan In', Auntie Prudence, and Eden's mother Constance, all attempt to intervene to protect Eden from Monty's unfaithful and drug-fueled ways. But things are never what they seem...
An older audience may get extra kicks out of this Alfred Hitchcock murder mystery parody but younger people will not miss out on any of the fun for not knowing (as was evidenced by my thirteen year old’s enjoyment of the show). Everything needed for a bit of fun and frivolity was there, from sexual innuendo, frights, great props, suspense, and good old fashioned laughs, to psychological thrills and spills.
A strong cast kept Ropable tight, their strength and skill knitting together to make sure the comedy delivery didn’t unravel into awkward or cringe-worthy moments. Carrie Green’s role as Norma Bates the manager of ‘Shan In’ was wonderfully portrayed, her combination of intimidation, sexual prowess, physical comedy, and deadpan deliveries coming together in a terrifyingly funny way.
Mark Wright was a bit of a surprise. At first I thought he was not really pulling off his role as Monty, but it turns out he was playing his role as an annoying, idiotic, philandering ****hole really well. Later when Eden’s father Nigel wanders on stage unexpectedly, it took me a while to realise it was Mark Wright in more than simply different clothes. Both roles were poles apart and my feelings towards them were too.
Innocent Eden played by Torum Heng strung everyone along, Eden’s mother Constance played by Lori Dungey brought colour and va-va-voom with her, and Auntie Prudence played by Yvette Parsons performance was a real ‘scream’!
Excellent use of lighting and sound effects provided great mood and brought shock elements to life. The set lent itself to producing a larger than life environment to work with, from the upstairs vertigo suite to the sauna and outside to some amusingly named landscape features. Imaginary places fed by clever set arrangement expanded the play into the unseen. Alfred Hitchcock references riddled the set, and a keen eye will find plenty to smile about.
Ropable doesn’t take itself seriously, everyone’s there for a bit of a laugh and there’s plenty to laugh about. If you feel like unraveling from the stresses of the silly season, check into Ropable’s ‘Shan in’ and enjoy a rollicking ride.
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