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A rather strange play, but one that had plenty of twists and turns to create an interesting and sometimes sinister production. Lea Pryer certainly got the right sort of performances from her actors, creating contrasts and dimensions within the play.
The set was good – and created the right feel for the era and social standing of the characters, with some excellent lighting effects created by Paul Horsler and his team. The first scene was particularly evocative, giving us enough light to see what was happening, but keeping it dramatic and slightly eerie.
I could certainly believe there was a body in the chest, particularly after the lid
was crashed down and the padlock secured, it seemed quite believable that a young
man would consider murdering an acquaintance just because he thought it would be
Performances overall were good, however I felt it lacked a little in pace occasionally.
Cameron Hay turned it yet another fine performance as Wyndham Brandon – he has undoubted stage presence, and there was no let up in the quality of performance from this young man. It is difficult to believe how young he is, as he comes up trumps every time.
Jaymes Sygrove played Brandon’s unlucky friend Charles Granillo. Jaymes gave us a good portrayal of the increasingly nervous and eventually emotionally wrecked young man.
The fact that the family of the murdered man and other friends were then invited to a small party where the centre of attention was the chest with the body of their son and friend in, was a macabre event.
I thought Steven Pryer’s portrayal of Rupert Cadell – a friend who starts to unravel the happenings of the night – was very good, it had essential timing and underlying nuances that made him a good contrast to the two younger men, he was rather smug and slightly disturbing in his realisation.
Rory White created a nice character as Kenneth Raglan, typical of the young man-
Michelle Chamberlain was Mrs Debenham, the deceased’s aunt – very few lines, but nicely delivered and to the point.
The dead man’s father – Sir Johnstone Kentley – was played by a very distinguished looking Kevin Birkett. Again, not a big part, but his delivery was spot on and he created a very good down to earth character as a foil to the younger cast members.
Stephen Calder as the butler Sabot was deferential in his bearing and I can only imagine what his reaction would have been if he’d known he was setting the table over a dead body!!
So, a sinister and intriguing play, well-
TADS Theatre Group
review date 28th September 2012
Director: Lea Pryer