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Stage Dragon Review: On The Razzle At The Electric Theatre

Published on: 2 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 2 Dec, 2016

by Tricia Marcotti

Electric_Theatre_7_1024_768_80As the 20th anniversary of the Electric Theatre approaches, the first play ever performed on its stage On The Razzle is back, refreshed and ready for a new audience to appreciate.

Tom Stoppard wrote this version in 1981, based on by the Viennese playwright Johann Nestroy’s rewrite in 1842 of Sir John Oxenford’s original play A Day Well Spent, from 1835.

There have been other incarnations of the original, notably Hello Dolly, which was both a stage play and a movie.

Presented by the Guildbury Theatre Company, from the beginning, the audience is presented with chuckle-inducing antics. The proprietor of a “high class” grocery store just outside Vienna is about to marry the owner of a Viennese fashion house, but he feels he needs a new uniform and a new servant in order to show off his higher status.

Zangler (Robert Sheppard) tangles his speech with zeal, abetted skilfully by his new servant, Melchior (Don Gwyther).

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Herr Zangler trying on his new uniform in On the Razzle at The Electric Theatre. Photo Phill Griffith.

Zangler’s niece Marie (Hana Bird) has fallen for a young man Sonders (Michael Thonger), but Zangler is not happy with it, setting the scene for a whole host of laughs as he attempts to thwart the young couple’s intentions.

Zangler’s employees, Weinberl (Jason Orbaum) and Christopher (Claire Racklyeft) decide they can play while the boss is away and go “on the razzle” to Vienna, with a number of hilarious close calls as they try to avoid their boss whilst enjoying themselves.

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Christopther and Weinberl discussing what to do while the boss is away In On The Razzle at The Electric Theatre. Photo Phill Griffith.

Zangler’s fiancée Mrs Knorr (Gilly Fick) and one of her clients Mrs Fischer (Kathryn Attwood) get caught up in the action between Zangler, his employees and his niece and her suitor.

The costumes are full of tartan, that being the fashion of the season, and there were even Scottish tourists and a bagpipe player to round out the theme.

The stage set was designed to allow the maximum amount of to-ing and fro-ing, with doors, windows and even a trapdoor for the actors to use to bamboozle each other.

The play is quite fast-paced and if the actors didn’t need the break, the audience needed one to recuperate from all the antics of the first half. The second half was as frenetic as the first, and I feel the audience couldn’t wait for the next hilarious encounter. All the romantic shenanigans, of course, get sorted out successfully in the end.

The cast are very well rehearsed in their parts as the laughs came from the audience frequently. It was also obvious to me that they were enjoying performing the play as much as the audience enjoyed watching them.

The Guildbury Theatre company should be very proud of themselves as they have produced a slick rendering of On the Razzle for Guildford to enjoy.

A triumph for the company and for ihe Electric Theatre and I highly recommend a visit.

The show runs until Saturday, December 3. Tickets are still available on the Electric Theatre website.

Star rating 5

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