Tag Archives: Floriane Andersen

“Much Ado About Nothing” at Gray’s Inn Hall

Antic Disposition are an acclaimed theatre company who tour to gorgeous locations. Having shown this neat new production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy in English cathedrals and at open-air venues in France – so the show is in tip-top form –their London sojourn marks a return visit for them to this beautiful Tudor hall. The location, alongside a production full of fun, makes the evening easy to recommend.

Inspired by the company’s travels, the play is relocated to France after the end of World War II. The move makes the most of an Anglo-French cast and aims to inject the bonhomie of a liberated nation with tricolour bunting and café style seating for some audience members. Several bilingual performers are impressive but there are some strong accents deployed by all the cast and some lines are lost. It’s a pity not to hear everything but all the performers make up for this with energy and élan. The trio of Beatrice, Hero and Margaret are played by Chiraz Aïch, Floriane Andersen and Molly Miles who make an impressively close team. Stiff upper lips abound for the English soldiers who come wooing: an idea that adds comedy to the performances from Nicolas Osmond as Benedict and Alexander Varey as Claudio, while resulting in a more prominent role than some productions allow for Theo Landey’s excellent Don Pedro.

French flair also aids the role of Constable Dogsberry (let’s be honest, those scenes are sometimes tiresome) whose malapropisms may now recall Officer Crabtree from ‘Allo ‘Allo although programme notes say the source is Jacques Tati. Either way lots of physical comedy allows Louis Bernard to get laughs and win over the audience. The company’s founders, Ben Horslen and John Risebero, co-direct the show with an eye on entertainment. An excellent score from Nick Barstow fills out both period and location, while calling on the ensemble to pick up their instruments further illustrates their talents and piles on winning charm.

Until 1 September 2018


Photo by Scott Rylander

“Henry V” at Temple Church

Benefitting from a fantastic location, the show that marks theatre company Antic Disposition’s tenth birthday serves to commemorate World War I as well as the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt. If that sounds like a lot for even Henry V to take on, rest assured that the play is neatly manipulated and finely produced.

Joint directors Ben Horslen and Jon Risebero have a group of convalescing British and French soldiers putting on the play during a break from the trenches. You might question the efficacy of this as a therapy – it’s hardly It Ain’t Half Hot Mum material – but impressive gains result. Poignancy comes from the prologue’s excuse for a “crooked figure” performing – these men are injured. And there’s a lovely sense of complicity, with pretend fumbling at the start and lots of addresses to the audience. The play’s female roles benefit from the backdrop, especially the courtship scene with Floriane Andersen, whose character we also see as a nurse. Henry V Temple Church 4 Andrew Hodges, Alex Hooper, Freddie Stewart (Henry V) James Murfitt Photo- Scott RylanderAnother particularly strong moment (pictured above) has the soldier playing the role of Bardolph breaking down as he faces his execution, performed painfully well by James Murfitt.

Freddie Stewart shows exciting promise in the title role. His youth is a slight barrier when it comes to Prince Hal’s transformation into a responsible royal; it’s difficult to imagine him having time for “greener days”. But this plotline is downplayed and we enjoy a virile and appealing King under pressure, juggling bluster and humanity, while examining his duties.

The play is presented in traverse, with an accomplished mobility that shows this is a team used to touring. With the church’s acoustics, the whole production sounds sublime – it’s a genuine aural treat. And it’s easy to understand the addition of well-performed songs by George Butterworth to poems by A E Housman, although this extra layer to the show brings it close to overload. There’s a surfeit of ideas here – and all credit to the ambition of Horslen and Risebero. But the show – well worth seeing – aims for more bite and emotional impact than it has time to deliver.

Until 5 September 2015


Photos by Scott Rylander