Stoat Hall: Eastern Angles

Stoat Hall is an Eastern Angles Christmas show, something of an adult pantomime. Set at the start of the Tudor period it features a Plantagenet living in Suffolk who is a possible contender to Henry VII’s throne. it is written by Julian Harries and Pat Whymark. Forget history children for this is somewhat confusing. I’d urge you to read the excellent reviews, especially that of Andrew Clarke, to describe the actions.

The Eastern Angles home theatre is the Sir John Mills in Ipswich. In this converted school hall they often split the audience in half with the stage in the centre. The same set-up is used in the Seckford Theatre in Woodbridge. I’m not convinced it works. I love the Seckford and it disturbs me to see blue temporary seating instead of a stage.

Splitting the audience means the actors must project, and only Patrick Neyman , complete with gender-confusing beard, managed to reach my inadequate ears. The lovely Violet Patton-Ryder never breached my hearing, although she was always very pleasing to the eye.

The opening number suggested we would have a battle between Suffolk and Norfolk. An ever-popular story that could have made a strong play.  Sadly the plot veered away from that story line, and then rambled its way through history.

Pantomime needs a very strong plot. Stoat Hall left me confused. Five actors each played several parts and rarely stated which part they were playing. My simple brain was left confused, as did the female beard..

That said Eastern Angles do a splendid job taking live theatre out to the nether regions.. They do need to make sure their web site shows all their locations. Stoat Hall finished at Sir John MIlls on 7th January and the site has no further information.