Astley's Astounding Adventures
Philip Astley founded the modern day circus 250 years ago and this incredible new play tells the story of his life and how the circus came to be. This amazing whistle stop tour through Astley's life is a feast for all the senses with fire, live stunts and fireworks.
The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, is the perfect setting for this masterpiece given it was also Astley's home town and forms part of a 250 years of circus event taking place all year.
Frazer Flintham has written a superb script which combines historical knowledge, humour and drama in equal measure to keep the audience engrossed in the action at all times. Michael Hugo does an exceptional job at holding the show together with witty narration and playing lots of different characters and Andrew Pollard manages to add some extra humour even whilst limited to a chair after breaking his foot in rehearsals.
The real stars though are Nicholas Richardon (Philip Astley), Danielle Bird (Patty Jones)
and Nickcolia King-N'da (John Astley). The 3 gel together as a family unit as
the show continues and the rift between father and son at the end has the
audience on the edge of their seats and feeling a whole host of emotions.
All 3 perform a variety of circus tricks throughout the show and these are
complimented by the professional circus performers who also perform a
variety of stunts throughout the performance. These stunts and tricks help to
immerse the audience in the action even more and almost transport you back in time.
The show is full of Director Theresa Heskins trademark features including minimal scenery, slight of hand tricks and a show that leaves you wanting more. I am already booking tickets to see it again!
The show is complimented by live musicians and a set design that really transports you to Astley's time.
This show is definitely another hit for the New Vic, it is simply perfect. You cannot see this show and leave disappointed as there really is something for everyone! The best show I've seen all year!
Make sure you get your tickets before it's too late!
Reviewed by Daniel Keen at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Astley's Astounding Adventures is playing at the New Vic until Saturday 28th July. For tickets and further information visit the theatres website.
Photographs by Clara Lou photography