Reviewed by Richard Lane
Venture Theatre Company has a proud tradition of writing and mounting their own shows. Venture’s current offering Shadowville , written by Valerie Lane (no relation) is no exception . It concerns a bunch of people… well they are not people really. Valerie decided to write about … “vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, witches , monsters and valkyries.”
The plot has three humans (Thistle) Jessica Ramsay, (Fred) David Giles and (Peggoty) Mairead Hayes investigating why all these weird critters cannot get on with each other. At least I think that’s what it’s about! It provides the mainly young players an opportunity to assume a character and to sing and dance. It was a quaint piece with most of the characters thoroughly harmless and not the least bit frightening!!
Unfortunately there were some fundamental stage skills missing. Many of the actors were allowed by director Valerie to gabble their lines so many good laughs were missed. And much of the stage movement tended to be lateral. Straight lines abounded!
The Choreography by Teagan Mackay and Tina Viant was very “Village People” and could have done with more energy and variety
As the fangless Vlad, Luke Wagner was rather too nice. Peggoty, Thistle and Fred were comfortable in their roles, so too was Kim Stewart as Bridey, but the standout performance of the night was Jake Picken as Zombie. Jake gave a marvellously funny, gravelly- voiced, uncoordinated send-up of all the movie zombies you have ever seen.
The minimalist sets were a little disappointing. I think more effort could have been put into this area without breaking the production budget.
The local audience of family and friends loved it and responded in kind.