Glen Pearce - 19th October 2011
The phrase ‘lost classic' is often enough to strike fear into any theatre critic. Often there is a reason these plays have been sitting on the shelf but just occasionally that cynicism is unfounded and the discovery turns out to be a true gem.
Such is the case with Eclipse Theatre Company's vivid reclaiming of Don Evans' 1980 comedy One Monkey Don't Stop No Show.
Ron Simpson at the Sheffield Crucible - 21st September 2011
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show reminds us how much great theatre is not on the radar of most theatre-goers. Written in 1982 by Don Evans (died 2003), it is a wonderfully zestful play, wackily intelligent and very funny, yet I had never heard of play or writer before. It's described in the publicity as a "lost American classic", but I suspect that in the UK it never appeared in the first place.
Fortunately this production by Eclipse Theatre and Sheffield Theatres matches the exuberance and imagination of the play. Trawling the internet for information, I came across a review of a 2007 Houston revival which contained constant reference to television sit-coms. At Sheffield director Dawn Walton takes it one stage further: it is actually presented as the recording of a television programme, with ON AIR signs, canned applause and occasional appearances by the floor manager. What seems at first an unnecessary conceit establishes the style of the production - wildly energetic, engagingly over-the-top, a series of nicely integrated star turns - and gives a context for the soliloquies in which the characters explain themselves to the audience.
Ruth Deller at the Sheffield Crucible - 16th September 2011
Sheffield Theatres and Eclipse Theatre's co-production of Don Evans' One Monkey Don't Stop No Show, currently playing in the Crucible Studio, Sheffield, is one of those shows where everyone - cast, crew and audience - has decided to have a good time, and that's what they have.
Tina Jackson at the Sheffield Crucible - 16th September 2011
It would have taken a whole barrel of monkeys to stop this high-energy, bubbly co-production between Eclipse Theatre and Sheffield Theatres. Played for belly-laughs in the Crucible's intimate studio space, the UK premiere of Don Evans' sitcom-style 1980 comedy - think The Cosby Show with added theatrical devices and internal monologues - ramps up the feel-good factor and has the audience splitting their sides.
Alfred Hickling at the Sheffield Crucible - 16th September 2011
The African American playwright Don Evans was a leading figure of the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 70s, though his plays have never made much of an impact in this country. This production by Eclipse marks the British premiere of a play that is almost 30 years old; yet it turns out to be the missing link between Wycherley's The Country Wife and The Cosby Show.