Review by Dom Wolfram – Performance of 02nd September 2022

On seeing the mount players production of Reservoir Dogs this weekend, it occurred to me that they seemed to have resolved a problem, though I’m not sure how intentional it was. 

I think when seeing any stage performance, it goes without saying that the dullest moments are the scene changes. On the other hand, when seeing a live band perform, the dullest moments are between the music when there is talking to the crowd and setting up of instruments. In this case, the live band and the stage performance alternated seamlessly. As soon as a scene was done, there was a music performance and vice versa. It meant that the audience were never really waiting for anything to happen. The only downside to this is that was hardly a moment to applaud for the audience. 

In recent years when attending a mount players performance,  I’ve come to expect an uncomplicated but beautifully designed and painted set. The hard worn concrete warehouse setting helped to set the tone, a harsh, cold and barely safe space which offers no comfort or warmth. 

The show opened with a radio announcement, setting the scene, musically speaking for 70s rock, the band comprised the Music Director Oscar Lenain playing bass, Tim Francis on the drums,  Sophie Cox – Guitar, Brandon Appleby – Baritone Sax and Mia Platt with vocals. The band went on to play some of the greatest hits from Tarantino’s best movies.

While the sound levels for the music weren’t always ideal, all the musicians were accomplished and confident and while sound problems are nearly unavoidable for community theatre, the separate timing of the band and the scenes meant none of the on stage action was drowned out. 

In this adaptation of Reservoir Dogs, all the lead characters are Female. The director Craig Lenaine-Smith asks the question (from his program notes) “What if we lived in a society driven by matriarchy, not patriarchy?” I for one have always been compelled by the implications of gender in narratives, something which can often slip by without being deeply analysed, but offers a rich topic for discussion and exploration. 

In this case, the actresses owned their characters, clearly not playing a feminised version of a male character but taking the text and the characters profiles, and stepping into them as a fresh interpretation. There was nothing jarring about these tough, dangerous (and at time scary) women except when it came to vulgar jokes and unfiltered discussions of the opposite sex. These were highlight moments for me, the production takes words out of a mans mouth and puts them into a woman’s, and without changing any subject matter it’s highlighted how juvenile, and gauche these discussions are. As an audience member I felt challenged to ask myself if I would have reacted the same if these were male characters. Every cast member had a challenging part to play and did the job well. 

Each scene was compelling and believable, there was a sense of comradery between the dogs and at the same time, everybody was on high alert, expecting to be bitten if they let their guard down for even a moment. 

The violent scenes, especially that one the story is famous for, were handled well and I felt tensions in the audience were very high as they were clearly immersed in the story. The production was a case study in the craft of stage violence, with gunshots, bleeding, fighting and various weapons used. All the effects were properly executed. 

A special shoutout to Jenny Heriot, who’s character I believed was scripted to have a knee injury from being shot in a previous robbery. Later I learned this was a last minute change as she had incurred a real injury before the performance, she integrated the injury into the show seamlessly. 

I’m never disappointed watching a performance by this company and look forward to their 2023 season. 

Images courtesy of