Review: Vested Interest Kick-Start Christmas with a festive new production.

On the 22nd of November, Vested Interest, Shrewsbury College's theatre company in residence, took to Theatre Severn to perform their innovative, Christmas kick-starting performance, Perfect Season.

Perfect Season is the theatre company’s first performance to be staged at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, performed with great comedy timing, strong set and hilarious characters it was a show for every age.

The play showed us snippets from people’s lives around the festive time, ranging from the very cool mid twenty’s gentleman, who does all his gift buying and wrapping in Tesco’s Extra every Christmas Eve; to avoid queuing and in his words ‘to bag double club-card points’, to the very prim and proper Nan who keeps a annual log of the Christmas greetings she’s received to best inform her own sending the following year.

With all these fantastic characters portraying an individual Christmas it was hard to not compare yourself to those on stage. At one point in the performance a ‘perfect housewife’ danced joyfully around whilst singing carols and spraying a merry air-freshener, at this very moment a lady in front of me whispered to her friend ‘ I do that’.  With moments like this continuing throughout the performance it was clear that the writer Vicki Duckett was trying to tap into the audiences’ inner festive rituals.

‘I find people fascinating but at Christmas everyone loses themselves in their own self made traditions. Observing the way my family celebrate this time of year got me thinking about how we put ourselves under pressure to make Christmas better than last year.  Other characters soon followed.’

The performance also provided a stage for some very young performers aged 5 to 11 from Shrewsbury’s Theatre School Stagecoach. The younger cast members performed a very naughty version of The Nativity, where we saw the characters act so uncontrollably that ‘little donkey’ became ‘big fat donkey’ and the birth of baby Jesus finalised with his head being pulled from his torso.  This was truly hysterical to watch, I particularly enjoyed it when one of the Wisemen arrived at the rehearsal dressed in a Bat Man costume.

This extremely imaginative piece of theatre concluded with each and every character finally finishing their Christmas duties, be it completing the last minute shopping, accepting that the nativity play would just have to be a little different this year, purchasing the turkey or devising a new plan to catch Santa.

I left the theatre wanting to see more and more from the characters established and can honestly say that it was a barrel full of laughs.

Svenja Jinman took to Facebook to air her appreciation of the production:

‘Love, Love, Loved 'The Perfect Season' tonight! Such a great show, I laughed so much and even cried a little at the end as it made me feel so festive’.

Perfect Season was the ultimate accompaniment to a cold Novembers evening, reminding every audience member of memories of his or her own, as well as prompting us that Christmas is most definitely on its way.

I for one cannot wait for Vested Interest’s next production.

Review by Michael Jenkins

Photographs credit:  Paul Wilkinson, Twigs Branch Photography.

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