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Isle of Man
posted/updated: 21 Apr 2017 - edit review / upload photos
White Cobra Productions - Dizzy Boo
Brian Wright
society/company: Manx Amateur Drama Federation (MADF) (directory)
performance date: 17 Apr 2017
venue: Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man
reviewer/s: Megan Rossiter (Sardines review)

MADF welcomed White Cobra Productions to the stage to perform Dizzy Boo. Brian Wright’s play deals with the attitudes and interactions of a certain class; new money. The play consists of a fusion of styles to make for a very interesting production, comedy and detective drama with elements of the supernatural and serious undertones of marital abuse and illegal immigration.

Another really complex play to add to the Easter Festival of Full Length Plays 2017 line-up following the residents of the fictional housing estate, Saxons Mead. The play’s focus is that of the sale of Nick Brenner (Fraser Haines) and Donna Brenner’s (Kate Billingham) house to Jez Herbert (Richard Jordan) and Louise Herbert (Bernie Wood). Each couple host barbeques inviting the other and their neighbours Ben Toye (Rod Arkle) and Paddy Nolan-Toye (Kimberley Vaughan), where the central action occurs revealing the happenings of the residencies, including the visit of a mysterious stranger.

Haines’ womanizing Nick was a solid performance with great comedic timing and delivery. His transformation into the officer was brilliant with very successful characterisation for both roles. Billingham had excellent facial reactions and good eye contact with the audience throughout and again showed good acting techniques with the transformation between roles. There was a very strong performance by Jordan, specifically in his plumbing speech. Jordan lifted the play and had great physicality, really animating the stage during his story. Another interesting addition that introduced much enjoyment were the songs delivered by Arkle’s Ben and Vaughan’s Paddy, a very lovely soft touch to the production. Arkle also had a wonderful accent, characterisation and comedic delivery in his eccentric role as Professor McKee.

There was consistent naturalistic acting throughout, however, at times the action was quite static so perhaps the team need to find motivation for more movement. Some actors completely ignored the stepping stones at the back of the stage which minimised the believability of the set and sometimes I felt as though the scene changes were a bit too long, with some actors moving hastily off stage before the lights went down. Overall, the team performed each of their roles brilliantly and the doubling was handled extremely well with each character having really memorable moments.

The costumes were all thought out well showing the passing of time and portraying each roles characteristics. That of the Professor was brilliantly executed depicting his unusual personality. Mr and Mrs Herbert were excellently contrasting in their first appearance on stage between that of the “Mario” plumber and the better dressed Louise.

Regarding the staging, there was an interesting and inventive use of lighting effects in the production, atmospheric lighting in the onstage lamp and fairy lights, the spotlight and the use of a torch in the night time. The set was detailed and intriguing, and while it possibly lacked the opportunity to define the change of scenes between the different neighbours gardens – it certainly gave the actors plenty of levels to work with which added interest.

Adjudicator, Robert Meadows said of the performance: “White Cobra Productions took a brave decision of staging a new play which combined elements of comedy, detective story and commentary on contemporary attitudes towards asylum seekers. The company clearly had talented performers and technicians.”

White Cobra Productions delivered a well executed interpretation of Wright’s Dizzy Boo with strong, believable relationships at the centre of the action. It was a very effective performance of a new work that addresses contemporary issues in an interesting and enjoyable manner.

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