Amanda’s joy in a wake-up call Wake up for theatre magic is

Lighthouse drama: A scene form Keepers

Lighthouse drama: A scene form Keepers

Forty Years On at Chichester Festival Theatre SUS-170217-095019001

REVIEW: Forty Years On at Chichester Festival Theatre

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It might sound like easy work – going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and seeing hundreds of shows, big-name comedians and amazing street entertainers.

And Amanda O’Reilly, director and programmer of the Spring Arts Centre at Havant, readily admits her job has ample rewards.

But she is also quick to point out that by the end of a week seeing nine shows a day, and literally running from venue to venue in a city with lots of hills, it takes something special to inspire her.

So she was doubly delighted when she found that ‘something special’ on the final day of her visit last August.

She admits she walked into a 200-seat venue with her thoughts more on the flight home than on the show she was about to watch – Keepers by the Plasticine Men.

But she adds: ‘Within seconds of the show starting I knew this was something special.

‘Suddenly I was wide-awake and lost completely in the brilliant performances of the two actors.

‘The set is minimal, little more than a ladder and a trapdoor, but I was with them in the isolated Smalls lighthouse off the Welsh coast.’

Keepers is based on a true story of sudden death and the slow loss of sanity – of events that were to change for ever the way lighthouses were run, with three keepers instead of two.

Amanda says: ‘The story is captivating, the physical theatre remarkable and the whole piece beautifully crafted.

‘It didn’t just remind me why I love the Fringe Festival, or why I love my job – it reminded me why I love theatre.

‘It has the power to transport you to places you will never go and make you experience events often long past.’

And the Spring’s director points out that she is far from alone in reacting so enthusiastically to Keepers. It won the Total Theatre Award and critical acclaim.

n Keepers will be at the Spring on Saturday, February 26 (8pm). Tickets: (023) 9247 2700 or thespring.co.uk.

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