WORTH A FLUTTER REVIEW

WORTH A FLUTTER REVIEW AT THE HOPE THEATRE

We were invited down to press night to check out ‘Worth A Flutter’ written and starring Michael Head, along with headline names such as Lucy Pinder (Model and Actress) and Paul Danan (Ex Hollyoaks, Love Island, and Celebrity Big Brother Star).

Upon the invite i was intrigued after reading the synopsis of which the story was based on together with the headline names on show with the additional Adele Silva (Emmerdale) listed who subsequently left the project weeks before the opening. The Hope Theatre being local to me also played a part in me coming down to see this being my third show in three days.

The Hope Theatre was the venue for this intimate play. Known also for its live music it is also recognised for its award winning studio space.

This play originally went out at the Red Lion in an earlier scripted version under the name ‘Red Rose Cafe’. It was also his first written play of which received much praise. Now back in 2018 this re worked version under its new name is receiving four star reviews all round.

The story of which i wont attempt to give away too much but after writing has turned into one of my longest reviews through pure enjoyment, starts with Michael Head playing Matt. A regular guy from South London who growing up wasn’t the coolest kid at school introducing us to his story. How himself being romantically drawn to Helen the woman that runs his local cafe seems straight enough, if however he wasn’t already engaged to his trophy girlfriend ‘Paige’ of whom he is batting above his weight with, played by Lucy Pinder. Lucky for him he has a sleazy best mate ‘Paul’ that he has grown up with played brilliantly by Paul Danan. Who just so happens to be seeing her behind his back. We go on to see Matt’s efforts to win over her heart but is this love reciprocated in equal measure? Or does he ruin it by saying something stupid? We then discover at the end of the first interval that like everything there are always two sides to the story. Act two comes in and we see the story from a love rival in Sam played by Jack Harding who also is seeking to win Helen’s affections tell us his story.

It was this two sides to the story that i found really clever, just when we were rooting for Matt’s cause, another rival appears. The backgrounds of both characters very similar already that they were already in relationships finding differing reasons for there affections towards Helen. The response also that comes from these differing interests also fabulous in when you listen to the difference in conversations over the same situations. Closed towards one and much more open towards the other. This was demonstrated in moments like why Helen had a jukebox in her home, and the knocks on the door of pervy neighbour Mr Edwards. In the end there appears to be a winner but even he admits to not knowing if he will end up alone in the end.

The cutaway scenes also were beautiful in that the background characters would stop in the background and a solo or duo of characters would act out an explanation of why they were friends or how they would describe the other and when finished would merge back into the main scene.

Others scenes also gave us laughs like the many things people say wrong played out in the form of a horse race, with different horses acted out by McNamara and Pinder under the names such as  ‘I Love You’, ‘Meet the Kids’, All things you try not to say when in the first stages of a new relationship. Or when after describing his penis as Scottish you later see Lucy Pinder brilliantly bring his penis to life, with a faultless Scottish accent and many reasons why it wouldn’t get aroused or what it takes to strike a deal. Or when we get to a boxing match between the love rivals later in the play.

Now the actors themselves, Michael Head writer and actor starred as Matt, Paul as his namesake and Lucy Pinder as Paige. As previously mentioned Adele Silva was due to be in this but for whatever reason bowed out, and to be honest after seeing the performance of Clare McNamara as the woman this play revolved around, i could not in any way have imagined it being played as honestly and fantastically by anyone else and also after only coming in at two weeks notice to the project. Jack Harding also brilliant in that he only had four days rehearsal before appearing as Sam.

After speaking to writer Michael afterwards he told me he didn’t see himself as a play write or an actor but on this showing he has a very promising future in both. This was a play not only personal to his life experiences which makes it all the more interesting it was also brought to life by himself, which you could see in his performance. His accent genuine and portrayal believable.

Paul Danan executed his role perfectly as Paul. The kind of guy no matter what school or group your in you always have a ‘Paul’ the good looking guy who has no trouble getting a girl. Especially when he only has to pose and give them ‘The Look’. When he tells us about ‘Black Monday’ the day he didn’t even get a kiss a terrible and memorable day it appears in his life. With no morals or loyalty he despite being a friend was one to watch out for. His second appearance as Mr Edwards the pervy neighbour gave us the hilarity, and shows his ability to switch character quickly.

Lucy Pinder making her stage debut in this pure class. Known as a model earlier in her career she has turned to acting also starring in the addictive (because i watched it i know) show called The Royals for E! Entertainment among other projects made a seamless transition to the stage, looking comfortable as anyone. It would of been easy being in such as intimate space to see any flaws in performance but on this showing was still left looking at the end. Giving us her performance as Paige the attractive trophy girlfriend, to Sams disinterested wife, to a real life penis, she showed her ability to comedy act and again like Danan change characters easily.

Jack Harding the contending love interest, gave us Sam the morally confused good guy, whose marriage has gone a bit stale after marrying young and suffering personal tragedy with his wife has ended up too falling for our woman in the cafe. Knowing what he is doing is wrong but yet cant stop his feelings. We get a quieter guy, a little more nervous about his situation as opposed to Michael’s character. Again coming in at four days rehearsal seems like he was meant to play this role all along.

I’ve saved Clare McNamara until last as she slowly came into this play, firstly we saw the story of Matt from his point of view, his story featuring the object of his affections. The second interval we get to see McNamara’s character in more detail, we see the reasons why she is how she is, the on the surface confident, sharp-witted lady who behind it all has her own story as to why life hasn’t quite worked out for when it comes to relationships. I loved her wit, humour and when it came to her isolation within her previous circumstance.  Clare from South East London doesn’t need to put the act on, again it is real and unforced.

This play works because it relates and finds a connection with the audience pure and simple. From that good looking guy in your class who tells you to ‘Smell the essence’ , to the chase that happens when finding a new love interest, those who are loud on the outside while masking bad experiences or choices to the reasons to why men who appear to have it all may look for something else.

‘Worth A Flutter’ is on until 19 May and I would recommend heading down to see this if you can. It’s more than ‘worth a flutter of your money’ – its a clear favourite for sure!

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