Reviewed by Richard Lane
Venture Theatre Company has a policy of producing shows devised from within the group rather than scripted plays. This is very commendable for the most part but in the case of their current production Crystal Clear their policy has gone very sadly awry. According to the programme notes this production has been developed by the cats themselves over a period of three months.
It is interesting to reflect on the theme tune Somewhere Over Rainbow running through the piece which was sung by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz” the film that inspired the film The Bluebird on which this production is loosely (very loosely) based. Incidentally, The Bluebird virtually signalled the end of Shirley Temple’s career.
Following a voice from Beyond, twin sisters Krystal (Chloe Bridle) and Clea (Emily O’Leary) are lured into a sleazy nightclub called the “Blue Budgie”. Their best friend Charlie (Nathan Giaccio) tags along too, and the trio get into all sorts of trouble.
Their presence in the nightclub becomes a dance fest organised by the club’s master Johnny Bad Boy (Ian Seymour-White). who seems somehow to represent the Devil after the girls’ “virtue.”
After a “Joke Off” with Jerry the Joker (Jason Lokan) the girls manage to get home without Charlie, but eventually he is found.
Much of the scene is set in front of a yellow curtain which is the home of the two girls, and voices are heard from behind that curtain – all very mysterious.
However when the curtain is drawn back, a rather splendid and glamorous nightclub is revealed, with no designer listed.
The young ladies glam up gorgeously for the night club scenes and one or two of them dance well.
The direction of the plot floundered, and without endeavouring to be unkind, the production suffers from aimlessness and not a little self-indulgence. There is little directorial evidence present from Adriana Allman and Wendy Schmidt and some very bad over-acting particularly from. Roger Crowder as Wilson (the two girls’ father) and also the Blue Budgie.
Seymour–White has a certain devilish charm as Johnny Bad Boy in fiendishly tight leather pants and and an impressive array of tatts.(Are they real?)
The two remaining cast members, Raven (Leanne Albers) and Dancer (Allman ) generally danced with energy and style.
Venture must be encouraged to continue producing shows which they develop themselves and seem beloved by the local community, but must take care that they are in full control of their material.
The tiny audience on opening night appreciated the company’s efforts.