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It was nice to be welcomed and shown to our seats, along with a drink, and a brief chat.  My thanks to the Society for their hospitality.

A very difficult play to accomplish on a small stage, but I think that all things considered Bovingdon did well to capture the various elements of the different scenes.

The fish plant was a very good set – the production line worked well, with the dialogue and movement.  The Racecourse backdrop was nicely painted, and evocative of a real track, however I would have liked to have heard a little more activity as a backing to the action, it was all too quiet for a busy racecourse, and when sound effects were used they cut in at full volume and then cut off completely, it would have been nice if it could have faded in and out then it wouldn’t have been so intrusive or obvious.  Just a small point, but one which would have made everything that much more realistic.

Costumes were mostly good, and I loved the ladies transitions from their work overalls to their finery for the races.

Dialogue during the opening scene was a little quiet, we really had to strain to hear what the four ladies were saying, however, once Iain King came on and spoke out in a nice loud voice, the ladies upped their volume to match, but it did adjust down again in some places.

I felt that Christina Payne as Jan and Lisa Harbron as Linda were a little over-shadowed by the more confident Shevon Burrows as Shelley and Barbara Bonney as Pearl, the contrast needed to be there, and I liked the diversity of the portrayals, but not at the cost of projection.

The ladies all got the Northern accent very well, and I liked their interaction and obvious care for each other.  Shevon played the outgoing, slightly over the top Shelley with confidence, and her animal print ruched dress fitted her and the part very nicely.

Christina was the more shy retiring character, which suited her well, the motherly one of the quartet – who was very good when having drunk a little too much champagne – I liked the bit where she was laying on the floor delivering lines, a nice take on it.

Barbara always gives us a well-studied portrayal, and this was another such occasion, she got the older lady who had been having an affair and desperately needed to tell someone very well.

Lisa as Linda, the young person in the quartet came into her own with Patrick, but didn’t really have much to do until then, so it was nice to see her edge forward with her character.

The different problems of the cast members, interwoven throughout, made the characters three-dimensional, and created both pathos and humour.

I liked Matt Prowse as Patrick, the other two parts he played were rather insignificant within the play, but Patrick was a nice part he could get the grips with, Matt gave us a decent Irish accent and the feel of a jockey who was half-starved and not exactly at the top of his game.  The relationship that was developing between him and Linda was very nice.

The accompanying music helped bridge the blackouts between scenes, which was appreciated, as it gave the impression of continuance of the action, whilst creating the difference in time.

Pace was a little slow throughout, and I would have loved to see a bit more energy from the four ladies, it was there from time to time, but a little more animation would have lifted the whole ambience. There were some very funny bits, and I liked the way the play was written, to make the most of each situation.

Iain King once again brought energy with him to the stage, whilst Michael Swietochowski played the laidback, slightly sleazy Jim McCormack well, but I would have liked a little more undisguised meaning in his proposition to Shelley, as a contrast to his smooth on-air persona.

Andrew Jamieson was Barry, who returned to find Pearl to tell her it was all over, a very poignant scene – nicely done.

The final realisation that they’d actually won their accumulator, after returning to work thinking they’d lost their money, was a lovely and uplifting end to the play.

A different play, and one which had some good moments, with interesting directorial challenges to overcome, but one which on the whole I enjoyed.

Bovingdon Players

LADIES DAY” 29th Nov 2013

Bovingdon Memorial Hall

Director: John Downs


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