Posts Tagged ‘stephen connery-brown’


By on October 28, 2012 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on REVIEW: QUILLS – Le Doon

Review by Laura Muldoon (freelance writer for DIVA Magazine)

Let down at the last minute by my theatre friend, I descended alone into the spooky basement at the White Rabbit in Stoke Newington to take in the brand new production of Quills by the Second Skin Theatre Company under the direction of Andy McQuade. The painted black brickwork glistened as I made my way down the narrow staircase into the dimly lit dungeon venue where the play was to be performed. The atmosphere created by this gothic, prison-like setting was excitingly immersive and perfectly timed with the play opening so close to Halloween. The set was beautifully laced with crucifixes and skulls, an excellent reflection of the plays grisly trajectory. Thoughts ran through my mind of being locked down here alone, a frightening prospect. I looked over to see a fellow reviewer being harangued by obvious Second Skin enthusiast and stealthily let myself be swallowed by the darkness as I fumbled with a delicious glass of merlot which sloshed over my notes.

Quills is set in Charenton, a lunatic asylum and a modern day nightmare, managed by the newly appointed Dr Royer Collard (Stephen Connery Brown), whose main motivation is keeping his highly-sexed wife distracted with a luxurious new mansion. It is here where the Marquis de Sade (Peter Glover) has been imprisoned after one too many masochistic indiscretions much to the embarrassment of his highly strung wife, Renee (Lauren Kelleger). Renee is willing to pay handsomely, through donations to the asylum, to have her husband imprisoned indefinitely in order for her to be free to regain her reputation amongst French high society, so a mutually rewarding agreement is soon met. Kelleger provides a truly comedic performance which provides lots of laughs, but is also unpinned with a deep sadness as she has become resigned to a life where she no longer remembers how it feels to walk down a street without suffering insult, which echoed to me the life of people who have been involuntarily flung into the sycophantic media limelight in Britain today.

Dr Collard’s counterpart at the asylum is the Abbe de Coulmier (Chris Brown) who cuts a staid and sensible figure in the face of the spirited and decadent Collard. The Marquis bursts onto the stage, a man beyond redemption, with a white painted face and a lasciviously, devilish grin pasted onto his face 90% of the time. A camp, larger than life figure, the fluidity of his sexuality was demonstrated by his outward appearance. He constantly made advances at most people but was particularly enthralled by Madeleine (Nika Khitrova) an innocent seamstress, dressed in virginal white who works at the asylum and the sexuality oozes off of everything he touches and says. It made my stomach flip, sometimes with revulsion, when I heard the stories of depravity which he narrates and simultaneously with excitement of the illicit and forbidden. The Marquis is gradually stripped of all that he holds dear, his wine, his home comforts and finally his writing tools. After recently listening to a radio programme about a woman who was compelled to swallow knives for fear that she ironically might die if she did not, I saw that same insane desperation in the Marquis and it was quite obvious that he or others will die if he cannot write. This was acutely apparent through the intensely dark performance from Peter Glover.

The Marquis’s plight raises a lot of thought-provoking questions for the audience which are very current, for instance, is a writer responsible for actions of their readers? The Marquis is eventually quelled from writing forever as the play concludes and I don’t think I would have been the only one feeling like that was a shame despite some of the consequences of his writing were truly horrific. The Abbe, played by Chris Brown is like a rock through the play until he too begins to crumble when his moral compass becomes skewed. At the beginning of the play I felt that Brown was a little wooden and quiet but by the end, his meticulous thinking and quiet sensibility is somewhat soothing. What I thought at the beginning as a negative, was now a positive which is indicative of this whole production. By the end no one is the same as who they thought they were at the start.

Quills: Stephen Connery-Brown

By on September 27, 2012 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Quills: Stephen Connery-Brown

Stephen Connery-Brown
trained at East 15 Acting School. With Second Skin Theatre, Stephen played Josefino in “La Chunga” and the Preacher in “Poe: Macabre Resurrections”. Recent stage appearances include “4.48 Psychosis” at the Drayton Theatre, The Man in Catalan playwright Josep M. Benet i Jornet’s UK premiere of “Desig (Desire)” at the White Bear Theatre, and Sir Peter Teazle in Jessica Swale’s production of “A School for Scandal”, and Shylock in a tour of “The Merchant of Venice” for Clockhouse Theatre Company. Other work includes theatre-in-education, corporate videos, commercials, short films and radio.

What is your role in ‘Quills’?
Doctor Royer-Collard.  He is the chief physician at the Charenton Asylum – a smart and very ambitious man, whose authority is severely tested by the Marquis de Sade’s subversive exploits. My approach to the character is to discover the humanity and compassion in him, and use that as a counterpoint against his sometimes cruel and duplicitous actions.

How did you first get involved in theatre?
One of my first jobs was as the sound operator for the pantomime “Aladdin”, and also playing the voice of the Genie of the Ring. Much to the director’s consternation I decided to do the voice using my Paul Lynde impersonation. 
What was your first impression of ‘Quills’?
A rollicking good story. I wanted to get to the end to see what happened to all the characters.

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