2 April 2016

Nap

Mark Addy, Jack O'Connell and Ralf Little - stars in"The Nap"
At one o'clock I asked Shirley if she fancied seeing a play at The Crucible Theatre in the centre of the city. I had heard about "The Nap" from my friend Mike who is a bit of a theatre buff.  He said it was outrageously funny. Today marks the last day of the play's successful run in Sheffield so if we hadn't gone today we'd have missed it.

I logged on to the Sheffield Theatres website, checked out which seats were available for the matinee performance and duly paid for two tickets which we collected at two o'clock from the box office. That's the amazing internet for you.

Written by Richard Bean and directed by Richard Wilson of "One Foot in the Grave" fame, "The Nap" is light-hearted and irreverential. There's a chain of never-ending malapropisms and clever one liners. A lot of the time there's a full sized snooker table on stage for the plot revolves around the trials and tribulations of an up and coming snooker star.

British visitors to this blog will already know that snooker and Sheffield's Crucible Theatre are almost synonymous because this is where the world championships are held ever spring and "The Nap" plays cleverly upon that fact. For example, the action opens in a down at heel snooker club at Manor Top, One of the actors, Mark Addy, looks around and says "It's hardly The Crucible is it?" This question ignited thunderous laughter and applause.

We have a parsimonious saying in England - "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" but in the play, when transgender conwoman Waxy Chuff is counting out her ill-gotten pile of fifty pound notes, she says, "Look after the fifties and the pennies can f**k off!" I guess you needed to be there to appreciate the infectiousness of this ribald humour.

There were various examples of  imaginative stagecraft and the play ends with a a snooker final that is being played out in front of our eyes. Of course the young hero, Dylan Spokes,  has to win and not the professional snooker player who was drafted in to be the contender. It took a while to reach the correct conclusion before Dylan lifted the trophy.

There followed a well-earned standing ovation.

"The Nap" isn't high drama. It's a long way from Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams but it is clever and funny and contemporary and I am glad we took the trouble to see it. Shirley isn't a big theatre goer  but she really enjoyed the performance so if you are reading this Mike, thanks for the heads up!

19 comments:

  1. Well, my dear friend, Mr. Pudding, I had to look up two words from your post. I thought I knew what snooker was and I was right. But is it the same and are the rules the same as our pool game in the states? I happened to tell my children last week that we had a pool table in our dorm building in college and that I was pretty good at it and that a body can contort in many ways while leaving one foot (or toe as the case may be) on the floor. They were just mortified! Surely, not their mother!!

    The other word was malapropisms. Although I have heard this word before, I never bothered to really search out the meaning. Very interesting. Thank you so much.

    I am particularly happy that Shirley enjoyed herself. My husband is the same. Not much for theatre but on occasion, he will enjoy himself.

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    1. p.s. I will NEVER forget the time we went to New Orleans (it was BC...before children) to see Sir Richard Burton in Camelot. And, when we got home at midnight found that we had no key to get into our house. And had to break and crawl through the bedroom window. Oh, how sexy Sir Richard was!!

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    2. You mean you came home with Richard Burton and not Big Bear? I guess he was chasing after Elizabeth Taylor.

      A snooker table is much bigger than a pool table and a slower, more tactical game. Snooker was invented by British officers serving in India in the nineteenth century. Canada has produced some champions and so has Australia but most players are British. I cannot name one American snooker player but even so you could check out this website:-
      http://www.snookerusa.com/

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  2. "Waxy Chuff"...now, that's a name that sets off the imagination!! I like her quote...I might have to steal that one if it's free of copyright!

    More clever and funny needed these days...there's enough high drama in real life...to be able to escape by laughter is good! There should be more of it!

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    1. Waxy came from a long line of chuffs.
      Laughter is a fine medicine. If only they could bottle it... Hang on, they have. It's called ouzo.

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  3. That sounds like my sort of play. I have fond memories of the Crucible.

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    1. If you'd been in the audience you'd probably have weed yourself Adrian!

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  4. I so agree with what Lee says.

    Good job you made it to see this play on its last day in Sheffield!

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    1. It was a jolly production and I am pleased we made it there. Laughing is good and I don't know about you but I am afraid that I don't experience good belly laughter every day.

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  5. I read about this and meant to book tickets but of course I'm too late....Jack O'Connell is very up and coming at the moment and loved him in Tower Block recently....isn't it good to do something on the spur of the moment YP?

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    1. As I have grown older, there has been more planning, less impetuousness but yes, "spur of the moment" stuff can be special.

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  6. I'm rather ashamed to say that I don't go to the theatre very often these days even when I'm in Glasgow. I was brought up in a city with five theatres that I can remember off the top of my head and so many subsequently famous actors cut their stage teeth in the Liverpool Playhouse. I had a season ticket. Television has a lot to answer for.

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    1. Perhaps you could open a little theatre in Stornoway... "Build it and they will come". I shall write a play for you about a crazy, mixed up scouser who spends half his life on Lewis and the other half playing croquet in New Zealand. There'd be some love interest too when our hero meets a twenty year old Turkish tightrope walker called Lena on a flight to Auckland. The title would be "Double Trouble". The Kirk and its dour followers would obviously be appalled.

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    2. What a lively imagination you have YP. This is a community which cast its disapproval on the cinema when it showed "Jesus Christ Superstar". It closed shortly afterwards.

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    3. Okay, perhaps "Double Trouble" wouldn't work then. How about a play in which God's wrath is meted out upon sinners? The climax happens when a crowd of church elders holding burning torches descend on a particular cottage in the coastal village of Eagletion chanting, "Death to Non-Believers!" before exacting their cruel punishment. Surely that would go down well with The Kirk and The Graham Edwards Memorial Theatre would be packed.

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  7. Yes I read about this YP. One of the things I miss about living out here in the sticks is theatre. On the other hand, I adore the scenery, so that makes up for it.

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    1. You could write and direct a play to be performed in Bellerby Village Hall - "The Poetry Circle". It focuses upon the almighty row that happened on the day that the members of the group read out their own poems and how the emergency services had to be called. Two women ended up in hospital and three others were arrested. It would be the antidote to honey-sweet "Calendar Girls".

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  8. Waxy Chuff! That's a great name. Sounds like a fun outing. :)

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    1. I'm not sure how well this play would have been greeted in London.

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