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Another enjoyable play from WDS – with an experienced cast.

The set once again looked good, WDS always have a good eye for design and build, that gives the cast the ability to navigate the set well.  The art deco screens really set the feel of the play, and I liked the backdrop behind the doors that went out into the garden.  A very nicely executed and well-dressed set.

On the whole the cast projected well, although there were a few prompts required, that slowed the pace at times.  I thought Acts 1 and 2 up to the interval were good, but after the interval the energy and enthusiasm perked up.

I liked the concept of the scene changes, which worked well.  The music used was in keeping with the period, which I enjoyed.

Jonathan Field gave Crestwell the butler gravitas, but at the same time showed an underlying sense of humour.  I always enjoy Jonathan’s portrayals, he injects life and understanding, and makes his presence felt.

Sheila Scull played Moxie with the right amount of seriousness as befitted a lady’s maid, but I enjoyed the transformation into a lady, and her tirade aimed at her sister was very well done.

Robert Naylor-Staples as the delightfully camp Peter Ingleton, showed that he can do comedy very well, and injected a lightness of touch into the proceedings, a good foil to the more angst-ridden ladies and the stuffy Admiral!

Viv Fairley showed good understanding of the sophisticated but slightly formal Felicity, Countess of Marchwood, and certainly looked the part with her elegant clothes.  The difference between the way she spoke to each of the other characters, depending on their status, was very nicely done.

Eleanor Field as the young maid Alice, spoke out very well, and showed lots of facial expressions.  Very well done.  I also liked the heavy breathing when she saw Don!

Pip Dowdell created a very disdainful and disapproving Lady Cynthia, and I loved the relationship between her and her very hidebound husband Admiral Sir John Hayling, nicely played by Robin Langer.  A very good partnership, creating a foil to the lighter and less snobbish characters!

Irene Morris as Miranda Frayle, the actress who was eventually found out in her lies about her early life, when confronted by her sister, brought a charming social butterfly element to the play, which contrasted well.  The accent wasn’t too exaggerated which made her more believable.

Steve Leadbetter came bursting on the scene as Don Lucas – and brought yet another bold dimension to the proceedings, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  He looked suave and sophisticated at first, then slowly went downhill as the alcohol took over – great fun and well-played.

The final cast member was Bruce King – who played Nigel, the son of the household.  There is always one character that the author doesn’t give as much attention to, and this was so in this play, but Bruce did well overall.

A nicely presented and acted play, Julie Field gets the best out of her actors, and I was pleased to see a really good audience who appreciated the play and the portrayals.

Wheathampstead Dramatic Society


Review date: 15th Oct 2015

Memorial Hall, Wheathampstead

Director: Julie Field


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