fringe dates - 24-27 June
Barnstaple's Fringe Theatre Festival

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Mad Jack and the Severn Bore

Spaniel In The Works Theatre Company

I thoroughly enjoyed this show.  Not being a regular theatre goer it was a bit of a treat to spend and hour in an intimate location learning of the exploits of Colonel John Churchill.

But my real reason for writing this review is because of the fine performance by John Bassett...  To carry an hour-long show is quite an achievement.  Obviously the script helps (not sure if he wrote this one as information is quite vague) but even a good script needs a competent performance, and that is exactly what we got.  John Bassett really brought the script and story of Mad Jack alive and the performance oozed his enthusiasm for the subject which helped to keep attention over the 60 mins (which went by all too quick).  It's so true time flies when your having fun...

An aside to all this was something I didn't expect at all but for me really added to the evening:  one of my favourite actors was the late great Robert Donat and alas I never got to meet or see the great man tread the boards.  A few moments into the performance I started to realise the similarity in John's acting style and voice to Robert Donat... and at times I just closed my eyes and listened to the wonderful voice that John possesses and was transported back to the Westminster Theatre in the 1940's... wonderful.
Mike Salter


This splendidly original drama is a study of ‘Mad Jack,’ an eccentric character who took us on a journey through his memories on all his exciting adventures. A gripping monologue that is a thought provoking, funny and poignant piece of writing. It is a testament to the actor who convincingly took on the mannerisms of not just ‘Mad Jack,’ but of all the other characters in the play. Mad Jack held the focus of the audience’s attention with his magnetism that kept us firmly locked in with his remarkable strong performance.
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