Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published February 7th 2018
Across the world in a toaster-powered bathtub
Josephine! is an example of just what power theatre can wield over our imagination.
Written and directed by Scott McArdle it's described as a musical, but it isn't really. It's an imaginative tale accompanied by music from a keyboard.
The story is simple - Josephine is a solitary girl whose aunt and guardian dies and she fades away and hides in the vents of her building, listening to the occupant's stories and finally making friends with a violin-playing William.
Nick Maclaine, Rianna Hall and Jo Morris in Josephine! (Photograph by Sean Smith)
When William goes missing Josephine decides she must find him and sets off in a bathtub powered by a toaster, encountering pacifist pirates, a ghost and Amelia Erhart, among others.
The entire cast of about twenty-five are played by just four. Josephine is played by Rhianna Hall and the rest are taken on by Jo Morris, Tristan McInnes and Nick Maclaine.
The bathtub is played by an office chair which also doubles as a plane and so on. The musical accompaniment, rather like that of a silent movie, echoes the action and heightens the enjoyment. Masterfully provided by Georgina Crammond.
The production is simply magical, making the very most of the four actor's very considerable skills.
I often remark that audiences want to be fooled, want to believe. All we have to do as actors is to help them along. At one level they understand that they're in a theatre, but are very willing to believe they're lying on a beach, soaked and sandy after having been ship-wrecked.
All it takes is perfect timing, an immaculate script, great acting skills and smooth, imaginative direction coupled with boundless energy. Simple, really. And if you want to see all those skills in action, go and see Josephine! at the Blue Room.
Ostensibly for children, Josephine! can be enjoyed at any age, but certainly on opening night there were plenty of laughs form tiny bellies and rapture in their eyes.