Tonight in the Museum – Charlie Chaplin!
The Selsey production of Gillian’s “Tonight at the Pavilion… Charlie Chaplin” was performed at the Cinema Museum in Kennington in September 2016 renamed as “Tonight in the Museum” – script available from Samuel French or Amazon.
This review from the Southwark News: “A great, if somewhat quirky, look at the life of the silent movie great, Charlie Chaplin. We tour through Chaplin’s life as he, now aged 70, discusses his early years as ‘the little tramp’, his most iconic comedic creation. A great cast provide Music Hall standards and songs from the golden age of Hollywood in a fantastic and nostalgic look at the work of a true cinematic legend. Staged in the unusual performance space at the Cinema Museum near the Elephant, this is a must see. A real gem that I implore you to get along to when it comes to your town. A true great done justice by a flawless production.” Matt Baker (Southwark News).
“I heartily recommend the play” – Kate Guyonvarch, Chaplin Office, Paris
“Enjoyable afternoon reminding myself of Charlie Chaplin’s early life story through film clips, play, song and dance, and taking place in one of Chaplin’s former workhouse homes, now the Cinema Museum in Kennington. Enthusiastic performance, of the many characters, from the ensemble. I particularly noted David Flint’s outstanding elder Chaplin.”
“This was an absolute treat from beginning to end including discovering this amazing former Lambeth workhouse and hospital chapel venue. The place itself is a treasure in every respect – the history, the architecture, and most of all the wonderful collection of the Cinema Museum. The show itself was outstanding. A lively and loving recounting of Chaplin’s biography convincingly and movingly rooted in his early family life and boyhood crush. My vision of Chaplin will forever be informed and enriched by this show, which seamlessly integrated some of his most immortal clips from The Gold Rush, Modern Times, and so on. The actors playing young and old Chaplin, his mother and brother, all of the women, dancers, etc. were excellent, spirited and delightful.”
“Walllowing in genius” – Jack Klaff
“An enjoyable piece that incorporates music-hall dance routines with clips from Chaplin’s films. A middle-aged Chaplin meets his younger self and reflects over his past life/career.”
“A jolly evocation of Chaplin’s life with cleverly embedded film clips to remind us of his talent. Lovely impersonation by the younger Chaplin.”
“The setting for this bioplay was absolutely perfect and it was quite moving to watch the film clips, which interspersed the action in this lovingly maintained Cinema Museum in the Victorian Lambeth workhouse where Charlie and his brother spent some time as children. An endearingly winning performance from Ryan Moss’s young Charlie. Special mention also to musical accompanist Sylvia Rota.”
“This show is joyous and uplifting. Everyone performed well, the pianist a delight and the Chaplins both exceptional. The location (and homemade substantial snacks) adds to a thought-provoking nostalgic evening. The lovely, warm writer – she was there on our visit – had stuck totally to the facts. Charlie Chaplin: what a character and what a show! Go see.”
“I enjoyed the way clips of his films were shown to enhance the storyline. An enjoyable afternoon in a quirky venue.”
“A wonderful show in a surprisingly apt and atmospheric venue. A spirited company performing musical theatre with talent and love. An unusual conceit enables both an old and a young Chaplin to challenge each other. The main parts are strong and the support mostly bold and well timed. Technically near perfect. A poignant and heartwarming piece.”
“What an afternoon! A very lively show in a lovely setting. It was more than a revue and the young Charlie and the piano accompanist were fantastic. But all of them were very good and 100 minutes were as short as 20. As for the venue… It was my first time in this museum and it will not be the last! The venue is quirky, interesting, fascinating… I caught a glimpse of a tiny cinema with red velvet seats… A real cinema, not an as-cosy-as-a-morgue multiplex! The staff is also exceptional. Prices of drinks and cakes very reasonable. I loved it and I look forward to my next visit.”
“I can only echo all the other wonderful reviews. An absolutely delightful afternoon in a very special venue. What a treat.”
“Heartbreaking” – Jean Boht
“The atmosphere was set by Sylvia Rota’s sparkly piano playing while we took our seats, and from the opening ‘Ta! Ra! Ra! Boom De Ay!’ (led by the fabulous Lisa Pow) to the closing (and very moving) ‘Smile’, this show was a joy. Ryan Moss and David Flint as the younger and older Chaplin were both superb, and Ryan Moss’s performance blended perfectly into the film clips from The Kid, Gold Rush, City Lights and Modern Times. Daniel Bowring as Charlie’s brother, Sydney Chaplin, deserves a special mention, evoking Chaplin’s family background and especially for his high-energy duet with Ryan Moss, ‘When Father Painted the Parlour’.
“Spendid!” – Simon Callow
“My husband and I absolutely loved this production. The acting was superb and this wonderful story of Charlie Chaplin’s life is fascinating and richly brought to life with dancing, singing and snippets of his black and white films. It was a joy to watch and full marks to every actor on the stage of the Cinema Museum. It was our first visit to this marvellous venue and such an appropriate setting for this show as it is in a converted workhouse and Chaplin was born there.”
“Thoroughly enjoyable and worth going for the amazing venue alone. Some real talent among the cast and the story was well told with some interesting insights into Chaplin’s life. Recommended.”
“Such a memorable evening. Great show but the venue is tremendous. I highly recommend the chance to visit the cinema museum packed with theatre memorabilia and artefacts with the most charming and helpful staff.”
“You don’t have to enjoy silent movies to appreciate this wonderful production. We understand why Chaplin was regarded as a genius for his contribution to entertainment and the legacy he left behind. Don’t miss this excellent production. This talented cast – with an outstanding performance by the actor playing the young Chaplin – deserves a full house at every performance.”
“What an absolutely fantastic show in an incredible location. Our group comprised people who had never seen any Chaplin, one who enjoyed silent film but not particularly Chaplin’s movies and one who adored his work. For us all to absolutely love this show speaks volumes – a great insight to his work, a lovely combination of live theatre and film screening. I thought Ryan Moss playing young Charlie Chaplin was outstanding. The mannerisms he displayed onstage being mirrored back in the film reels were fantastic to see. Someone else’s review said that this show deserves a full house – it absolutely does. In a way I think the venue might be holding it back because it’s hidden among private housing, but the Cinema Museum itself is such a perfect setting for the show. It just needs more publicity to get people out that way. It’s not far – just that you need to know it’s there. Additionally the Cinema Museum staff were fantastic on the day, made us feel very welcome, took time to discuss artefacts and invited us back to other talks later in the month.”
“This was so moving for me. All the cast were brilliant and I know the young Charlie is made for great things. But for me it was the older Charlie’s performance that touched me and moved me to tears. I loved the cinema museum, the passion and commitment of the staff shines through. I will definitely revisit. Another hidden gem I’ve discovered in London.”
“Charming, touching play. Very well written and directed. The two Chaplins (younger and older) were fantastic actors – very creative and sympathetic portrayals. Also captivating performances from the young actress playing Minnie/Hetty and Sydney, Chaplin’s brother. The setting is very quaint and the show does have a dusty sort of feel. It would be interesting to see it in an off-West End venue with a larger budget, but then again it might lose some of its charm!”
“What a wonderful production of Chaplin’s life in a hidden-gem location full of history and character. The Little Tramp will live with us forever!”
“This show is extremely well acted, sung and performed. It has much humour, poignancy, drama and emotion. Some scenes were interspersed with the actual films of Chaplin, which complemented them. I especially enjoyed the pianist! The venue is the Cinema Museum in Elephant & Castle, which is a treasure of a museum. Please make time to look around. This in fact used to be the workhouse that Chaplin and his family worked in. The tea and cakes on sell are scrumptious. There are also books on sale, which are ploughed back to the Museum – a worthy cause.”
“Absolutely brilliant production from a very talented cast and crew. Energetic, imaginative and poignant. I was moved by this show. The filmmaker perfectly screened too. What a corner of a venue too. I love movie memorabilia and I was impressed by the Cinema Museum. Do go if you can.”
“Another amazing building in London that I never knew existed and will definitely be visiting again. A real sense of community and everyone so helpful. The Young Charlie and the older Charlie were excellent ( as was the opera singer / piano player.) Loved the showing of movies during the performance.”
“The story of Charlie Chaplin, now 70 years old, taking you across his early years. Performed in one of the workhouses where he spent most of his childhood, which now houses the Cinema Museum. Being the perfect venue to tell the audiences how his early life shaped and gave form to his character to became the very first icon of the silver screen and one of the most recognisable faces to this day. A moving, funny and entertaining play. Performed by very talented actors, singers and pianist. Played in the perfect venue to add authenticity to such a character loved by many. A truly West End production. Highly recommended.”
“I pootled along to this delightful venue to what was a real treat of a show! Great lead performance by young Charlie, and some strong ensemble players. Look out for the AMAZING opera singer! Uplifting songs, and a real eye opener to the life of Kennington’s own, Mr Charlie Chaplin. Thoroughly recommended…and I recommend the side sofas for seating.”
“A cheerful and often moving musical, chronicling Chaplin’s early life. A very strong cast, especially Chaplins Junior and Senior. The live elements were seamlessly interspersed with scenes from Chaplin’s films projected on the big screen behind. A privilege to see it in the amazing Cinema Museum. It certainly adds something to the performance knowing that we’re sat in the same hall that shaped Chaplin’s view of the world.”
“Wow, this is a must-see. The actors were well cast and gave excellent performances. It was well-crafted and informative with some really special moments, watch out for the pianist, who was sublime and who’s accompaniment throughout helped to bring it all to life. The set was intimate, for a big space, and the building is part of the old workhouse that Charlie Chaplin actually lived in – so very poignant too. It is also a cinema theatre so there are thousands of interesting and unique items to marvel at. I found myself crying and smiling simultaneously, a first for me. If you get a chance – GO.”
“Saw the show last weekend…….. I was blown away! Excellent script writing, excellent acting, in a fantastic intimate auditorium, lovely atmosphere……….fab, fab, fab……must mention the choice of wardrobe and quick costume changes…….. Amazing!!!!!!”
“I saw four shows this week, including two at The National, but tell you what? This was the most fun. I just love fringe when it is well done, and this was excellent.