Thanks to the New Theatre, Cardiff for inviting us along to see the show in exchange for this review.
A small village in rural Ireland is turned upside down when a major Hollywood film studio descends to make a historical blockbuster on location. The story is told through the eyes of Charlie and Jake employed as extras along with numerous other locals.
Does the glamour of Hollywood meet the expectations of two local men, Jake and Charlie when they sign up to be extras for a big-budget film that has just pulled into town?
The production begins with the two main characters, but before you know it, between them they switch to members of the production team, including the (very typical) big-shot Hollywood director.
This almost scatter-gun approach feels a little overwhelming, but before long, once you have got your head around the mix of characters, you are fixated.
At first, the glamour is enjoyed, and Jake and Charlie are simply two mates hanging out on set – a Hollywood set!! They can’t believe their luck. They even get to mix with the movie’s starlet, Caroline Giovanni, who mixes with locals in the village pub. But this is where the sheen starts to dissipate, with a local man who is thrown out of his local taking the story in a different direction.
Charlie is a big fan of the movies and has written (over many years) his own script. Will anyone look at his creativity and give a ‘nobody’ a chance? These two friends, now extras are thrilled to be rubbing shoulders with stars and taking home £40 a day! The coffee scene between Jake and Caroline Giovanni is excellent; and soon we find out that she has a habit of ‘going ethnic’. Although attracted and perhaps slightly starstruck, Jake doesn’t take too kindly to her advances.
With some of the glamour well and truly worn off, Jake and Charlie still find time to have fun, and find themselves interrupting filming of a particular scene through a spontaneous fit of laughter (we have all been there); to which they are told “Time is [email protected]*king money”. Rolling, spinning, and jumping into different characters, sexes and an array of accents is no easy feat and the acting is extremely impressive. I wasn’t convinced that these characters could sustain the entirety of the show, but the interval felt like waiting for two friends that you haven’t seen in some time. The characters really build momentum and you warm towards them very quickly. The set, although quite basic was used economically to create great atmosphere and a backdrop to a lot of goings-on.
In the last days of filming, an event happens that threatens to potentially ruin the production. Emotions run high and things get out of hand (slightly). Will the production team listen to rumblings from locals and simply change the narrative of the film? It’s just a story, right? Face to face with the local extras, the Hollywood studio needs to think fast to avoid total disaster. “We are in the can. In the camera. On tape.” It would look silly if the extras who have been in the entire film all disappeared in the final scene yet to be captured on film wouldn’t in? Does this blockbuster get an ending? You will need to come and find out. With an exquisite dance scene that lasts longer than anticipated, you will laugh out loud at a rendition of Riverdance, many Irish jigs and a fine display of more modern and downright ridiculous moves too. An (extremely) fast paced production that will warm your heart, make you think and definitely make you laugh.
Thursday 4th June 2019 – Saturday 8th June 2019 – Evenings 7:30pm, Friday 5pm & 8:30pm and Saturday 3pm + 7:30pm
Tickets: £11.50 – £31.50 : Box office 02920 87 88 89 or book online www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk