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Cheeky Maggot evening provided an excellent showcase of talent



Review: Emma Whitelaw

THE foyer of RADA was over-overflowing with talent for Cheeky Maggot Theatre's fundraiser on Wednesday night (February 25, 2004).

It was cabaret at its best; actors, comedians and musicians alike gleefully entertained us in a bid to raise funds for a production of Steph de Ferie's Cannibals Alone.

With a percentage of profits going to The Terence Higgins Trust, too, it was fun for a worthy cause.

The evening began with a rehearsed reading of Act One, of Cannibals Alone.

Set in America, the play is about two renegades, Ray, played by Kate Sissons, and Max, played by Martha Swann.

A virus is sweeping the nation and the US Government's answer is to quarantine all the infected victims.

Ray and Max are part of an underground scheme set up to create new lives in Canada, for escapees from these prisons.

Callie, played by Frog Stone, comes to their door seeking refuge. As they are wanted by the Medical Police, or 'Meds', Ray and Max are extremely cautious and give Callie the third degree.

Once they have given her the all clear, they explain to Callie how Ray set up the scheme, as a way of avenging her brother's death from the malicious virus.

Although the reading was a stripped version of the full script, it was utterly compelling. The girls may have been confined to their seats, without the aid of a set, or props, but they had the audience hanging on their every word.

After the interval, we were introduced to our host for the rest of the evening, Mr Sven Stacey, brilliantly portrayed by Gareth Tunley.

As 'agent' to the acts that followed, Sven was excited, as excited as "Michael Jackson with a 12-year-old!"

There was so much talent in the room it would be impossible to mention everyone, but notable performances would be those given by Matt Wilkinson, Dougal Irvine and John Hopkins, from the largely successful Sketch Etc team.

Both Matt Wilkinson and Dougal Irvine are brilliant musicians!

Wilkinson has an incredible voice and can belt out one hell of a tune, while Irvine performed a hilariously worded version of Robbie Williams' Angels, which he dedicated to all suffering drama students.

John Hopkins, as French Pop star, Fabrice, followed suit with a riotous skit, where even chatting up elderly women in the audience wasn't off limits.

Unfortunately, it must have been a bit too risqué for the poor women, as soon after they decided to leave!

Not all the elderly had left the room, however; and the final act of the night was a remarkable dance recital by Jim and Norma Keegan.

They were truly astonishing, moving with such swift grace and agility you would think that they were 20 years younger.

In a room full of 20-30 somethings, they proved you can be grey and still rock the house!

The crowd loved them, cheering and clapping along. It was an amazing finale to a thoroughly enjoyable night!

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