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I wasn’t enamoured of the play, I felt that although the Director kept it fairly traditional (his words), it lacked a little in the real light and frothy Noel Coward feel.  The play was about a dysfunctional family (parents, son and daughter) all inviting a friend each for the weekend, promising them the same room, and the effect the visitors had on everyone’s relationships.  

There were some good performances, the set was well-constructed, and in the main the costumes were suitable, I loved the music, but overall I was not wholly convinced.

The set looked good, however I felt the front door was entirely wrong for the period, and the upper windows were a little too contrived, but I loved the back drop and the overall dressing of the set.  Small point – the green drape on the sofa needed a good iron!!

I liked the ladies costumes on the whole, although Judith’s didn’t seem quite eccentric enough for her portrayal, her evening gown was also very run of the mill and rather faded into the background, whilst her hair needed a professional hand to create the type of look she should have had.  Myra’s hair and dresses were all extremely good and she wore them with panache.

The gentlemen all looked fairly in keeping with the era, except for Simon’s shoes, he would never have worn grey socks and shoes with cricket whites! – and Sandy shoes were a little too modern.

With costumes and hair, it may seem nitpicking, but in trying to create the whole picture with look, accents etc, these things take the eye away from the main emphasis.

It was lovely to see a tribute to Gary Bates in the programme, following his untimely passing – he will be sorely missed.

I loved the sound effect of the rain, it was very cleverly done, creating a good background and didn’t interfere with what was going on – but I couldn’t work out how Sandy managed to go outside to the car in the pouring rain with no coat, and re-appear from upstairs a few minutes later fully clothed, and dry, with his suitcase!

Hayley Vaughan and Joe Hawkins as the rather dysfunctional Sorel and Simon Bliss, created very good characters, and seemed to have the right attitude for the era.  Very well done.

I also thought Mandy Perry as Society-type young lady gave us a lovely portrayal.  

Julie Hanns gave Clara (the maid) a rather wry twist, generating some very amusing moments, with Sarah Wilkinson creating a shy unassuming character as Jackie Coryton.

Sue Jones and Ralph Gough as the head of their dysfunctional family were, for me, a little lacking in reality, I needed something more, which I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Martin Blower and Dave Hillman, as Sandy Tyrrell and Richard Greatham did very well with their parts, and I enjoyed their portrayals.

For some reason I was not as convinced as I would normally be with a Rep production, although I liked the bows, they were accomplished nicely without breaking the feel of the ending.

Dunstable Rep


review date:21st November 2017

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Alistair Brown


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