Just when you think it can’t get any better…another review arrives
The reviews keep coming in, and this one is particularly significant, coming from Stagewon, an online resource and review site ‘for theatre professionals, artists in training and audience members alike to learn, nourish talent and communicate with one another.’ Delighted for all the actors getting the recognition they deserve.
The full review is below, but you can read the original review by clicking here.
Every once in a while an aspiring actor will watch a piece of theatre that reminds them just what drives them to pursue a career in acting; Waiting for Brando was such a performance.
The atmosphere in the bar before the show set the stage for a hotly anticipated final performance of the Unity’s painfully short run of only three nights. As the music of the 1950s subtly played out, the sell out audience eagerly snaked their way into the quaint studio space.
The play tells two stories. One of the tense working relationship between Hollywood director Elia Kazan (Paul Duckworth), and his former friend, playwright, Arthur Miller (Carl Cockram). The other of two Liverpudlian brothers both working on the seas with Cunard. Whilst there are moments of interlinking, the two storylines work well alongside each other in this clever social commentary.
A period set is always a challenge but was delivered with aplomb. The two worlds portrayed were seamlessly interlinked throughout the two story play. One side of the stage was reserved for the tense working office of Kazan, and the other a classic post-WW2 New York bar.
The use of sound and lighting was brilliant. The technical design matched the small performance space perfectly. The use of echo allowed us inside the mind of Kazan, without being over dramatic. The jukebox and guitar offer light musical release from the often tense relationship between brothers; steady Eddie (Daniel Hayes) and his tenacious younger Vinnie (Joe Shipman). These musical interludes had the audience laughing and, on occasion, even quietly singing along.
Hayes’s performance of the sea-hardened Eddie was both warm and strong. The brotherly love he feels for Vinnie subtly escapes his toughened exterior. His ability to create both laughter and tension during the performance is a testament to his talent. The loveable Vinnie is more than successfully portrayed by Shipman. From his first appearance as a downtown conman to his delirious reverence for Marlon Brando, Shipman stands tall in this stellar cast performance.
In the contrasting world Vinnie aspires to see, Duckworth and Cockram offer the harsh reality of 1950s Hollywood. Duckworth’s scruffy exterior and exhausted aura is subtle; his performance is both intense and enticing. Alongside him, Cockram is equally emphatic as former comrade Miller. Like the brothers, this relationship offers glimmers of friendship and warmth in a difficult environment.
The eclectic mixture of comedy, drama and accents makes for a fantastic new piece of theatre. The only travesty is the short run. I have no doubt had this been longer, the powerful all male cast would have been performing to sell out audiences for weeks. Brilliant.