THEATRE REVIEW: The Dresser ★★★★★
The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Friday 30th September 2016
With the flicker of lights and the sound of a bomb falling, the auditorium is plunged into darkness, until shortly after Norman (Reece Shearsmith) is lit with a short spotlight, praying out to the audience. With an explosive and innovative start to this production, The Dresser, which plays during The Everyman Theatre's 125th birthday, already had me excited for what's to come, and I can honestly give this production nothing but praise!
I absolutely loved everything about this production, from the setting of a dressing room, right through to the chemistry between the actors, especially from Shearsmith and Ken Stott (Sir), right through to the comedy that runs throughout the production, especially from Shearsmith’s side from the very beginning!
The storyline was a real simple, basic understanding that let's you follow with ease, as we see the journey of Sir’s health state from 1 hour before the performance, as he stumbles in from hospital balling his eyes out from exhaustion, right through to his onstage performance of King Lear.
I must also say how much I loved Reece Shearsmith’s performance of Norman, who has been Sir’s dresser for 16 years, because seeing his character transform through the play from this shaky dresser who insists Sir goes on stage despite his health, right through to his alcoholic and aggressive side, especially towards Irene (Phoebe Sparrow).
It was though at the very end of the first act and throughout the second act that something incredible and unexpectedly happened, to which was the use of the revolving stage, changing from the dressing room to the wings of the theatre on the opposite side. I was so impressed by the slick transformation and how the actors moved through the set whilst it was in the motion of turning, especially with Sir and Norman, but also how the music fitted to the actions given out from the actors.
Overall, I personally believe that The Dresser has to be one of the most incredible productions I have ever seen, due to it having everything I love about theatre all rolled into one, and if anyone considers to witness the performance by yourselves when it transfers to the West End, playing from October 5th right through till January 14th 2017, I would highly recommend this production if you're looking for an enjoyable, entertaining night at the theatre!