Ghost Writer by the Leighton Buzzard Drama Group
25 – 27 September, 2014
The play started rather slowly – the music played at the start lasted way too long – I could feel the audience still chatting and getting a bit restless. Nice to have a scene setter at the beginning – but keeping it short and snappy would be the order of the day.
Mark Croft seemed as if he was feeling his way a bit with his first speech, a lot of Shakespeare quotes, which I think got a little muddled at one stage – but then Nick Priest burst in on the scene, and everything gained momentum. Thereafter the pace of the piece was good, and projection excellent.
I enjoyed the sometimes rather macabre humour – and there were some real laugh-out-loud moments that kept the audience’s interest.
The set was excellent – a typical rather sleazy bedsit, with plenty of relevant dressing, empty packets and bottles etc, and dirty bedding – all made it look so real. The lighting also enhanced the requirement for the rather ghostly feel, as and when required.
I thought the characters were well-cast – they all gave their portrayals a realistic but sometimes fantasy edge – which added to the enjoyment. The humour bordered on farce – and mostly the timing and effects were good. I liked the independently operated typewriter – although I would have liked it to have been more prominent – I am aware that it probably needed to be close to somewhere that it could be hooked up to a power supply – but I nearly missed it, which would have been a shame, as the ‘wow’ effect was so good.
Mark as the main character Edwards, achieved a rather bewildered man which suited the part, and his reaction to his dead wife was accepting along with some disbelief – he played the part well, however I would have liked to have seen a more marked response when she said she thought she’d been murdered, to give them reason and momentum to find out who did it.
Nick was the deliciously camp Alex – just the right level of interpretation, without going too OTT. Always a difficult call, but it meant he was believable, without being comic book. Nick also gave some lovely very telling looks – which helped create another dimension to the action.
I loved the dominance of Ruby as played by Caroline Page, she created a very full-on ghost, and looked good as well. Her costume was perhaps a little out of the box, but was sufficient to give the impression of a ghost – my feeling was that more normal clothes in white/grey would have been more in keeping with the feel of the character, as she was definitely in charge – she was determined and I felt her clothes need to reflect that dominance.
Olivia Davies played Glenda, destined to be Mark’s next girlfriend. A super portrayal, which showed her accomplishment – loved the scene where she got drunk – it was under-stated and pitched at exactly the right level, to be real but not farcical.
I thought that Steve Martin as Hedley, he of the wig and red nose who looked rather like a ventriloquists doll – I know it was eluded to in the lib, but it was slightly too marked – the wig particularly would have been more impressive if it had looked like his real hair – but it was great fun – and nicely handled!
Jan Delamore gave us a very frosty Frances – with some fiery responses and put-downs. Which gave us a good contrast to the other characters.
I loved the super glue and glitter reference, created a super mind picture.
The interval music was all obviously carefully chosen because of the words/titles – and helped to tie in to Act 2.
So, all in all an accomplished production, well-acted and funny. A slightly slow start, but it picked up quickly and maintained the pace and dimension needed.
My thanks to Kim and the front of house ladies for their hospitality – it was good to catch up with you all.