'My Own Show'.... November 2009

Directed by Tabi Paternoster
Performed at Wymondham High School

Review by David Hare

I approached the play with some misgivings; an unknown play by an unknown
playwright did not inspire great hopes. I need not have doubted. I do like a story where
the loser becomes the winner, and although the comedy, if it can be called that in
Lesley Bruce's play, is spiteful and self-seeking, it chronicles the will of an outcast
(bullied at school, made to feel small) to make her mark and, incidentally, get
something of her own back.
Wymondham Players had chosen a winner, and cast it with remarkable finesse. The
successful television presenter and personality. Fay, played in deliciously world-weary
mood by Louise Casson, makes the mistake of featuring an old friend, Caroline
Pollard (Bollards to the rest of you!) on her day-time television spot. It was the one
chance that Bollards had been waiting for. Slowly, slyly, she inveigled her way into
Fay's life, her flat, her persona and her programme until she eventually ousted her
from her prime spot and took over with "her own show". I have never seen Amanda
Oelrichs perform better than in this determined and steely account of Bollards, which
promised greater things for even her hapless son, Allan, a splendid performance by
David Percival, a proof that less is more if ever there was one; his passion for Dinky
Toys was hilarious and moving by turns.
The tally of Fay's old school friends, now made good in their own fields, was
admirably supplied by Heather Carpenter's academic-turned-businesswoman, Jude,
and Barbara Tilley's Gillian, who had risen to the top her career. They did their best
to encourage the failing Fay, but the one they had tried so hard, in days gone by, to
make life a misery was simply too much for all them. I take my hat off to Bollards!
The play was staged in the delightful drama studio at Wymondham High School
which lent itself to the essentially intimate nature of the piece, and the simple setting,
by David Paternoster and Jac McAllister was a triumph. Director Tabi Paternoster is
to be congratulated on taking an unknown quantity and creating an enjoyable, and
thought-provoking evening, with acting of the highest calibre and a presentation that
was slick and sharp. A milestone for Wymondham Players, indeed.

David Hare