An Abingdon, Oxfordshire, Drama Group
Here is a condensed version of Gareth Jeremy's NODA review:-
My thanks once again to Director Deidre Jones for the invitation to review your latest production. It is always a pleasure to attend your shows, and to revisit the unique theatre at the Unicorn.
Deidre has that distinct talent of choosing the right play, for performing, with a cast that she knows will always make a success of what she has thought of, -- and this was no acceptance.
From the moment we sat down, we were taken back to the 70's, (the period of the plays setting), -- with some pictorial settings of what happened then. There was a lot of interest shown by those sitting around me, and much discussion, -- as to happenings in Ted Heath's Government, and some of the landings on the moon etc.
As mentioned in the Directors Notes, the play is set on stage, as one house, but the action in both houses taking place at the same time, -- this was very cleverly designed, effective, and the reversing swivel chairs worked a treat during the dinner parties on the Thursday, and Friday evenings, at the different houses.!
This play needed experienced actors, who could pick up the cues from the action taking place in the other house. This cast were confident, and very believable characters.
The Players, in order of appearance. :-
Fiona Foster (Jenny Shepherd.) -
As Mrs Foster she moved around the small half stage with ease, and her 'upper class', voice added to her character. One small point, with a heavy fringe of hair, it cut many of her expressions out, as one could not see her eyes clearly, and her eyebrows, this was a shame, as she worked very hard. Another small personal point, -- maybe as a sophisticated woman, at her own dinner party, I felt that her long hair would have added to her character if it had been 'dressed up', when wearing her party evening dress.
Teresa Phillips (Deborah Parker).
Bob Phillips (David Spencer.)
I do not wish to separate these two characters, -- the husband and wife, and unseen baby, -- they struck the right harassed, and bored with life characters to perfection, some great 'one liner ' conversations, -- and some excellent facial expressions.
Frank Foster (Mark Wilkin.)
The somewhat bumbling hoodwinked husband sustained a great delivery of his lines throughout the play, with clear diction, and good facial expressions
again, -- and one had complete sympathy with him, -- not that this would be shared with his office staff, most probably.?
William Featherstone (Paul Barrand.)
Mary Featherstone (Julie Kedward.)
Again, I do not wish to separate these two very experienced actors, as they worked so well together, they were so at ease, never missing an expression or jesture. We were very impressed with his two 'period', sweaters, beige fairisle, and red pattern, were just super. --- obviously a very 'handy man at work', who could turn his hand to anything., --- and those expressions again were so well timed.
The restrictions of playing on only half a stage was challenging, but it worked so well, -- and our congratulations must go to Deidre, and her team for all the thought put into the production, before the first rehearsal
As mentioned in Deidre's Notes, she is indebted to Peter Bradley, John Bradford, and Mike Davies, for their invaluable support, --- where would any Society be without the support, and guidance of those 'Behind the Scenes' - from stage hands, to front of house - they are all part of making any show run smoothly, and successfully. ---- Many thanks to you all. - you do a great job.
I was taken 'back stage', by Mike after the show, --- and it is so interesting to me --- to see the restrictions you have to cope with - whilst performing.
I take my hat off to Julie, how she managed to come screaming from one house to another - in a matter of seconds, --- having to go outside, and back again through another door. Congratulations.!
Programme, & Poster Design, Mike Davies, & Deidre Jones.
Very distinctive, cover, and produced on good quality paper, and some excellent well produced photographs.
Contains all the relevant information, and more, --- interesting notes about Sir Alan Ayckbourn.
It was a delightful evenings entertainment, which I will remember for many years to come - many thanks for the hospitality, and I wish you every success in the future.
National Operatic & Dramatic Association
London Area - region 12.