SHOW: CARRY ON JUST WILLIAM
CAST: MALCOLM TERREY
DIRECTOR: ALAN SWERDLOW
VENUE: THE STUDIO AT PIETER TOERIEN’S MONTECASINO THEATRE, UNTIL JANUARY 17
REVIEWER: PETER FELDMAN
Director Alan Swerdlow has been a busy man. Over the festive season he directed two productions; simultaneously; at the same complex.
The first, ‘I’m Playing Your Song, the Marvin Hamlisch Story’, with Jonathan Roxmouth and Sharon Spiegel-Wagner, ended its run on January 10 at Pieter Toerien’s main theatre at Montecasino – and was a superb presentation. The second is ‘Carry On Just William’ at the Studio in which Malcolm Terrey assumes the persona of famous ‘Carry On’ star Kenneth Williams, who is narrating stories on radio about Richmal Crompton’s naughty little hero, 11-year-old William Brown.
The ‘Just William’ books were very popular in the 1950s and 60s and Terrey does a sterling job in triggering to life, through various distinct personalities, the characters who inhabit the pages.
Terrey comes into his own in this one-man presentation and relishes the idea of not only telling three amusing stories, as Kenneth Williams, but also interacting with his audience in the theatre’s small confines.
Kenneth Williams, of course, was a British actor who made his name in the ‘Carry On’ films, which dated back to the late 1950s and simply carried on. The series garnered a big following for its low-brow laughs and insane antics of the Carry On Team, which included South African-born Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Hattie Jacques. There was something like 31 films in the series.
Williams always played it camp and was hilarious at times as he flared his nostrils in agitation. Actor Terrey does not overdo camp in his interpretation and allows the characters to dominate the stories.
Terrey and Swerdlow jointly created this production using Crompton’s stories for a major slice of the content. Though we don’t really get to know much about Williams, the focus really is on the entertaining manner in which the stories are told. Terrey is terrific.
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