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“THE SECRET TENT”   


A very good play to celebrate Redbourn Players 50th anniversary – well directed and well acted.  I enjoyed the play, it had lots of contrast, angst and intrigue.


As always the set was excellent – depicting the cottage the action took place in.  Nice beams and well-dressed, with props that reflected the era the play was set in.


Lighting was nicely managed, and I particularly liked the fact that when Naomi turned the lights on it was exact – no anticipation or delay – which was well done.


I would have liked a quicker scene change from Scene 1 to Scene 2 in Act 1 – as the audience started to drift, but otherwise scene changes were fine.


There appeared to be a number of prompts, which slowed the pace, but apart from those the pace was good, and the action really built to the surprising end.


Costumes and hair were generally good.  


David Howell as Christopher Martyn, the main character, was called upon to stretch his normal acting skills from comedy and urbane characters, to a full on dramatic performance, which I thought he achieved really well.  The last scene was particularly difficult and telling for him, reaching good dramatic heights, and showing us a completely different side to his accomplishments – I was most impressed.


Becky Vernon-Clinch created a complex young wife as Ruth Martyn – the transformation from happy wife to tortured sister was well-marked, she showed the confusion of the character well, and once again I enjoyed this young lady’s portrayal.


Naomi Martyn gave Pauline Mead a chance to play a diverse character, the gentler mother and the disapproving mother-in-law, who eventually came into her own in the last scene, lots of light and shade in Pauline’s portrayal, very telling.


Benita Gilliam created a great character performance as Miss Brown – this lady really gets into her part and gave it such perspicacity, making Miss Brown the catalyst for gossip and meddling – I loved her performance.


Another person who created a super character was Euan Howell, as Ernie. V Slightly simple but knowing, I was so impressed that such a young man could give such a discerning performance.  Very well done.


Miss Pearce, the headmistress of the approved school Ruth attended – was nicely played by Maureen Wallis.  I thought the accent slipped a little at times, but her tale was well-delivered and made things much clearer for us all.


Martin Boutland was a very understanding policeman – Inspector Thornton.  He got a nice empathy for the family into his performance, and I particularly liked his last line – Goodbye to Naomi and Good luck to Ruth – nice directional and meaning looks.


We heard the voice of Lola Paige Snell as Peter the Martyn’s young son, which helped and added to the action from the adults.


I liked the programme insert in the style of the original production, which I understand was the first play the new Redbourn Players performed, and reprised as a celebration for their 50th anniversary year.


A thoroughly enjoyable evening, and good to see Redbourn tackling something a little more serious, with a surprising ending, well directed by June Farmer, returning for this special occasion, so very well done to you all.



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Redbourn Players

THE SECRET TENT

review date: 28th April 2016

Redbourn Village Hall

Director: June Farmer

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