'Tonight at 7.45'
~ Hands Across The Sea ~
~ Hands Across The Sea ~
~ Still Life ~
Review - By Sue Dupont
Certainly Bob McClenning went for a very different mix of plays to make up his programme and showing the different styles created by Noel Coward affording a great choice of roles for the cast.
‘Fumed Oak’ was a domestic quarrelsome scenario and not the usual Coward style: Doris, the nagging, demanding and dissatisfied wife from Jane Cole certainly would be difficult to live with, add a teenage daughter who whines continuously (Hannah Garner) and the Mother in Law (Georgette Vale) with waspish tongue who sits in the corner and criticises, and this is an unhappy house in which to live. No wonder that Henry (Ian McDonald) who takes the backlash over breakfast each day before going to work comes home after some alcoholic fortification and the worm turns in full force and silences all this female aggravation by announcing he is leaving now. Well observed family interactions in this domestic play.
‘Hands across the Sea’
is a much more recognisable Coward situation with great opportunities
for the ‘socialite’ glamour and crystal glass dialogue, all very much
OTT and extravagant giving the ‘champagne’ amusing comedy. The
Gilpin’s (nice set) flat and one of those social occasions when people
just pop in and chatter (very Coward): Alan Carpenter as Com. Peter
Gilpin with friend L.Com.Alastair Corbett (Alan Sarbutt-King) in
bonhomie drinks and discussion new yacht, interrupted by wife and
friends. Heather Carpenter was outstanding in a role that could have
been written for her as Lady Gilpin, glamour and cut glass useless
chatter, endless times on the telephone interrupting all other
conversations, and the clever use of the tangled and entangling wire,
the endless martinis made and drunk, the conversations without the
introductions regarding the recent holiday, this was pure social
theatre. But for this to succeed it is necessary to have the
complimentary characters: Tracey Hobbs as friend Hon Clare with all of
her social agenda concerning that holiday and visits, and Martin
Drummond as Bogey accompanying, and a part of the martini/chat
session. And who were the other two who were thought to have been part
of the holiday, very bewildered with the happenings in the house,
David Jefferies and Wendi McClean as Mr and Mrs Wadhurst held their
glances and silences as they sat uncomfortably throughout before
leaving. And poor David Percival as Mr Burnham with the designs just
ignored by them.
‘Still Life’ is the stage precursor of the film ‘Brief Encounter’ and thus the set the railway waiting room and refreshment counter, so a familiar story after a set change. A strong no nonsense character in Myrtle Bagot (Amanda Oelrichs) as the lady in charge of the buffet, who quite enjoys the cups of tea (and chat-up) from Mr Godby (Chris Baines) the man in uniform in charge of the platform and monitoring the trains, a good duo well balanced. Poor put-upon Beryl (Elizabeth Turner) downtrodden behind the counter sorting the buns and pastries, often in trouble, but liking the attentions of Stanley (David Percival) the boy with the tray of goodies to sell on the platform, another well balanced duo. And to the main couple so familiar after the film version: Dr Alex Harvey (Peter Harrold) on way home from his consultancy takes the grit from the eye of Mrs Laura Jesson (Cathey Rix) and what follows is inevitable with the weekly meetings over a cup of tea in that waiting room, and the friendship which turns to love over the months. The rapport between them grows and this was well developed and the final meeting when he talks of leaving for Africa really causes such distress for her that they really cannot say goodbye. And especially after the strong interruption caused by Dolly Messiter (Georgette Vale) there is no chance of a fond farewell. Other visitors to the buffet just stir up the observations by all. Good to see some newcomers to the Players. A classic piece and a good choice to finish.
WYMONDHAM PLAYERS - 'Tonight at 7.45' by Noel Coward
Central Hall, Wymondham. 21st - 24th November