March 2015 Directed by Ann Kempster
It was good to see a good old fashioned play by a very clever playwright, but this is also a wordy piece that requires audience concentration. Leighton Buzzard Drama group, on the whole gave a convincing perform- ance.
It is very difficult with this type of play, as being set in the 1930’s about upper middle class people, to make the characters believable. I did feel that some of the cast members lacked sophistication and were not always dressed appropriately.
Having said all of this, director Ann Kempster worked her cast very well and I thought some of the setting and the way she moved the characters around was very well done. I thought the set was excellent and well done to Carl Russell for this. It was very appropriate and was dressed very well with period furnishings. I guess a lot of people had their front rooms raided to provide this look.
As for the performances, sometimes it worked very well and sometimes not. For me the most convincing roles were played by Barbara Springthorpe and Randell Moll as Olwen Peel and Charles Stanton. Both seemed very comfortable in their roles and also sounded just right for the period the play was set in. I also really liked Kim Aguilar as Miss Mockridge, more of a cameo role but Kim had excellent projection and her dialogue was delivered precisely.
Lainy Ward, who I last saw as a scheming swashbuckling pirate in the an- nual pantomime showed her versatility in the role of Freda Caplan, and is clearly a seasoned performer although sometimes her accent did falter. Renee Dulieu as Betty Whitehouse has quite a difficult job as she had little dialogue and has to spend a lot of the time sitting and reacting. Renee did well to keep the character going. But now I must comment on the volume with certain characters when it came to the more emotional parts of the play. In this type of play it does not need out and out shouting to get the point across, but unfortunately this was not the case with some performances. I did find this grated on me and did not help my overall enjoyment.
As I stated earlier middle class people in the 30’s oozed sophistication and would not have shouted the odds at each other. Some characters seemed to spend the most part of the play shouting, and toward the end of the play it did become overbearing and I do think Ann could have got her cast to use much more light and shade. I apologise to the society if they feel I am over critical but I only hope that it might help if ever the group was to perform another of this type of play.
On a more positive note the timing of the characters was on the whole very good, although the play is wordy, from an audience point of view the group put across well how they had all had dealing with the now deceased Martin and the very complicated relationships they all had with him.
All in all I enjoyed my evening at Dangerous Corner, and give my good wishes to everyone involved.
Keith Pendall NODA representative District 2