Theatre Review - The Anastasia File – Ormskirk Theatre Company – Wednesday 3rd July 2013
PUBLISHED: 09:29 04 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:43 04 July 2013
The Anastasia File
Rob Gemmell reviews The Anastasia File at Disraeli’s, Ormskirk by the Ormskirk Theatre Company
The true story of Princess Anastasia is surrounded in its own mystery. During the Russian Revolution of 1917 the Tsar of Russia was massacred along with his wife and children in Siberia. Rumours were
abound that one of the daughters had survived the massacre. Three years later a woman is found in Berlin after an attempted suicide and later portrays irregular behaviour. She has no next of kin and no history.
During an investigation by a German Police Inspector and following the opinions of medical staff the identity of the woman in question is linked to the Tsar of Russia. The woman decides against any
interaction at first, but gradually begins to converse denying who she really is and where she really comes from, but after persistent questioning it transpires that she is Princess Anastasia.
Here follows a reversal of comportment as the newly claimed Princess tries in effort to convince people of her true identity. Her story, her history and her memories all tie up and although she may have earned the trust of the Inspector, she still has a family to convince.
Royce Ryton’s superbly written script is full of intrigue and drama. It is well shaped, well plotted and crafts the story of the Princess in cleverly blended scenes formed from a series of flashbacks. It is a difficult play to perform and it takes a brave decision for any theatre group to tackle the intensity and emotion. It required solid, professional performances and that is just what the Ormskirk Theatre Company’s version had.
The stage space they had to work in was limited, but they utilised it well to deliver the story. Usually a play for four people, the Ormskirk Theatre Company adapted the script slightly to add a fifth actor into the story to help with the flow of scenes. The majority of the actors played numerous roles sometimes in quick succession which played out pleasantly.
Gary Simpson showed his ability off the stage as well as on it with some gifted direction.
The scenes required a quick conversion and given the lack of space the changes were swift and seamless and blended into one another with such eloquence that it didn’t slow the pace of the story down. Gary also played the role of the Inspector and the Inspector’s father (in a flash back role) with comfortable grace.
Alan Thompson portrayed many characters including many of the play’s doctors, sometimes in scenes next to each other, but with excellent vocal work he separated the characters out from each other with ease. He performed a challenging role very well. Charlotte Taylor and Emily Grogan both played multiple characters in the show.
The versatility of their acting abilities were able to shine with each character they brought to the stage in truly delightful performances. But it was Pat Baker’s portrayal of Miss Managhan, the woman claiming to be Princess Anastasia, that really captivated the audience performing work of pure brilliance in particular moving scenes.
The Anastasia File has been blessed with a fine cast, fine direction and a truly captivating performance by everyone involved. The company deserve to take pride in their work.
The play continues from Thursday 4th – Saturday 6th July. 7.30pm.
Visit the Ormskirk Theatre Company’s website for more details – www.ormskirktheatrecompany.co.uk