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DUNSTABLE REP   “BAZAAR & RUMMAGE”    Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Julie Foster                                 14/3/17

An amusing and insightful play from the pen of Sue Townsend, charting the progress of a group of agoraphobics brought together by a volunteer social worker Gwenda, to run sale in the village hall, who appears to want to keep her group of ladies indoors forever, to feed her own insecurities.  

I liked the way the different characters intermingled, with Julie Foster creating a feeling of tenseness between the ladies, shown by their diverse portrayals.  It was also nice to see some newer faces amongst the stalwarts of the Rep.

The set was well-conceived and really gave the air of a slightly run down village hall, with a lighting plot from Richard Foster that suited the mood.

The props were many, but the cast handled the setting out and putting away of them very well, so that it was apparent they knew what they were doing, but it didn’t detract from the overall action.

I liked the slightly manic but passionate characterisation of Gwenda from Sue Jones, she had her calm moments, but these were few amongst the obvious problems she had, and her wish to control her motley group of ladies.  Her almost hate relationship with trainee social worker Fliss was nicely worked by both ladies.

Fliss was played by Christine Rayment, a world weary trainee, who was trying to be modern in her outlook, but almost defeated by the other ladies, but eventually managing to come out on top.  A good foil for the idiosyncrasies displayed by the group.

Susan Lee Burton played Katrina, an ex songstress – and 4.5 year agoraphobic, I would have liked a bit more projection in her lib, but loved her medication-induced view of the world, and the fact that she couldn’t stand anyone!  Some very astute viewpoints, expressed in a very simple way.

Bell-Bell appeared to be the most ordinary of the group, obsessed with cleanliness, and played in a very straight forward manner by Ann Kempster, very believable.

The final member of the group, Margaret, was played with great energy by Katy Elliott, a good foil to the others, with her use of bad language adding a little vitality to the underlying gravity of the situation.  Very well played.

The final cast member was Judith Porter as a WPC who had been demoted to community policing and wasn’t able to adapt to it, perhaps slightly overdone, but a catalyst to the final surge of all the characters making their entrance into the outside.

An interesting look at agoraphobia through the eyes of the sufferers and the social workers, who obviously had their own problems, depicted in an amusing but sometimes hard-hitting way.

Overall I enjoyed the production, which was a bit of light relief after the last few rather more dramatic Rep plays.

Dunstable Rep


review date:14th March 2017

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Julie Foster


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