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As a first sortie into directing at the age of 15, I was impressed with Eleanor Field’s clarity of vision, and although I know she probably had a helping hand from her Assistant Director, it was a brave and farseeing decision for both Eleanor and the Society, so well done to everyone for backing a young lady who is steeped in amateur theatre, and appears to know what she wants from it.

This was a typical J B Priestley play with many twists and turns in the plot, and a very unexpected ending.  No chance of letting your attention wander in this one, as the revelations came thick and fast!

The set was well thought out and constructed, echoing the feel of the era the play was set in, and giving the cast plenty of room to move around the stage and each other.  Lighting complemented the set, and sound was good as always.

I felt the costumes were a little diverse, in that the men were all in black tie, which was very smart, and with good hair styles, whereas the ladies did not seem to follow, and when it comes to costume attention to detail is a must, so that it does not interfere with the play itself.

I am aware that some of the characters should have been younger than their actors, but appreciate that with amateur theatre one has to sometimes go with who you have available, and I thought that in the main everyone worked well together.

There was a rather large reliance on the prompt the evening I was there!

In a way the star of the show was Martin – who was talked about all the time, but never appeared!  I thought I had a handle on the play, but then everything was turned on its axis, as the revelations about everyone’s relationships with Martin were revealed.

Jonathan and Julie Field as Freda and Robert Caplan, created good characters, with plenty of colour in their interpretations, and whilst they complemented each other you could see the range of different feelings that passed between them.

Betty and Gordon Whitehouse were played by Pip Dowdell and Robert Naylor-Staples, Betty the rather prim wife, until details of her relationship were uncovered.  Gordon meanwhile, blustered his way through his marriage, being very lovey dovey towards Betty, whilst harbouring feelings for Martin.  I could sense the undoubted frustration, and when Betty turned towards the end it was again a surprise.

Irene Morris made a good character of the slightly downtrodden Olwen, who eventually managed to outdo several people with her comprehension of the situations.  I was particularly taken with her speech when she gave her reasons and knowledge, she gave us passion and understanding.

Steve Leadbetter was a good Charles Stanton, the fraudster and someone not to be admired.  Nicely interpreted, which added another dimension to the piece.

The final player, Maud Mockridge, was very nicely played by Viv Fairley.  A refined lady writer, who liked to indulge in some gossip, again adding dimension to the end result.

I enjoyed the twists and turns of the play, but thought it lacked a little pace at times, generally it was well-acted.


Wheathampstead Dramatic Society


Review date: 23rd Feb 2018

Memorial Hall, Wheathampstead

Director: Robert Naylor-Stables


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