There are a couple of wow factors going on in this bloody brilliant production of Moonlight and Magnolias written by Ron Hutchinson and directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward. The first wow is for the reveal of the remarkable set of David O Selznick’s Hollywood office created by Tim Meacock. It is beautifully realised even down to the sprinkler system in the ceiling which this reviewer kept imagining would go off at any point during the show. It doesn’t – it is just part of the fine detailing that make the large office space look incredibly real.
The second wow is in the top class, often high-speed acting, by Joe Alessi (David O. Selznick), Dan Fredenburgh (Ben Hecht), Oscar Pierce (Victor Fleming) and Hayley Doherty (Miss Poppenhul) all of whom put in enough energy to be able to light up the Hollywood Hills twice over.
The action is non-stop, very funny yet also delves into anti Jewish and racist attitudes in the film world during the era in which Gone With The Wind was written, produced and eventually released to be one of the biggest grossing films of all time.
Although some of the play’s ‘against the odds’ situations are crazy they are played with serious intent which makes the comedy more believable and funny. As David O Selznick says in the play “Whatever it is, it’s a melodrama.” The play contains a great deal of physical action including a slapping scene where the characters act out and try to work out how best to film a controversial scene where the black maid gets hit around the face.
For any film history buffs in the audience there are oodles of reference to old-time film titles and their stars such as Clarke Gable. Even without any knowledge of the hidden parts of scriptwriting and plot development in the world of creating cinema this is still a highly enjoyable romp enhanced with some superb acting, pin sharp vocals, and great play writing from Hutchinson.
Moonlight and Magnolias runs at Nottingham Playhouse until Sat 7th March.
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Do you travel by public transport and come across annoying fellow travellers? Then check out Phil Lowe’s hilarious new book! below. Recommended age 16+