Last Friday night I went to the Madder-market Theatre in Norwich with my good friend Steph to go and see a production of The Star-Spangled Girl which was originally written by Neil Simon in 1966 with this version directed by Stash Kirkbride.
Now I knew virtually nothing about this play before I went in except for the fact that it is about two men, Any and Norman who use their apartment to write a protest magazine and the chaos that ensues when Norman falls for an Olympic Swimmer and all-American girl called Sophie who moves in next store. It has been a while since I have seen a play with only three cast members but this one had an interesting premise and I had been looking forward to seeing it for a while.
As I previously mentioned I saw this play at the Madder-Market theatre in Norwich which is a fantastic place to see a show and because it is not a big venue the audience are never far away from the action. We sat in the front row so we got a great view of what was going on and even though the stage was small they made brilliant use of the space they had, in fact there were several jokes that were made possible by their use of the space which I thought was very cleaver indeed.
Norman played by Christopher Neal had such great expression and energy that instantly made him both likeable and believable as a slightly eccentric but genius writer. His interactions with Andy played by James Ducker were an absolute delight to behold, Andy is an interesting character in his own right and does a great job of keeping everything going while simultaneously dealing with an irate printer and distracting their landlady with all manner of crazy activities.
Everything seems to be going well until Sophie played by Nina Taylor turns up leaving Norman absolutely head of heals, unfortunately for him she doesn’t feel the same way and that is when it starts going downhill for Andy and Norman as well as for the magazine. Sophie adds something extra to the story with opposition to both Normans advances and to the magazine that the boys have created.
Sophie begins to play a bigger role in the story as the play progress with some incredibly powerful performances from her and from Andy who is still trying to keep everything on track. It was inevitable that Andy and Norman would have some conflict too but I thought that they handled it very well with lots of humour and even a few moments that seemed to shock everyone in the room.
The Star-Spangled Girl was chock full of laughs and incredibly powerful performances from three talented actors in a story that kept me entertain and engaged right until the very end. The set looked amazing and I thought that James, Nina and Christopher worked together really well and I look forward to seeing more performances from them in the future.
If you get the chance to see something at the Madder-Market theatre then I would highly recommend it as is a really nice venue with amazing staff.