A Chorus of Disapproval

Date 18th June 2015
Society Irving Stage Company
Venue Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
Type of Production Drama
Director Simon Spence


Author: Ann Platten representing Julie Petrucci

A play within a play is always a challenge, and on this first night with the Irving Stage Company there must have been some trepidation on such a demanding production.

Starting with a snippet of a sung piece from “The Beggars Opera” from some of the company which lead into the arrival of newcomer Guy Jones(Mr Jones) as he was very formally introduced, wanting to join the Pendon Light Operatic Society.

Played by Nick Bennett as a rather quiet, anxious to please character, how quickly it all changed with the pursuit of at least two married ladies from the company.The transition was almost immediate it seemed and proved that indeed Guy was going to be an assett to the company.In fact the Lothario of the show.Nick’s singing voice ranged depending on the type of song, and I believe that he had far more power in his voice than he gave out.

Nick Metcalfe as Dafydd ap Llewellyn was outstanding as the Director maintaining a Welsh accent throughout and generally dashing around the stage dealing with a cast which quickly fell by the wayside.A huge character role which was the mainstay of the production.

Nicki Stapleton playing Fay Hubbard looked and delivered every inch the character of a Femme Fatale, introducing Guy into a very different pastime and Andrew Jordan as her husband Ian was suitably matched and seemingly enjoying their “swinging lifestyle”.

Rebecca Huntley-Pike played by Julie Merrick was in full command as the very correct senior member of the company with superb dialogue and a total understanding of her character in this production.Every move was measured and enjoyable, and Steve Whittaker as her husband Jarvis, a man of property, gave a good interpretation,making his standing known to Mr Jones in no uncertain terms.

Sian Couture as the rather put upon wife Hannah Llewellyn was very natural on stage, with a gentle singing voice, which gained strength as the production progressed.

Smaller roles were all very important and of course within the play made up the story.

There was a tendency to a few pitch problems in mainly the ladies singing.

A good double sided set which served as a bar and house interior.Very slick and quick set moves from the crew,I would have liked some cover music through the set changes which always adds to the audiences interest until the next action on stage, either from the pianist or suitable taped music.

Care should be taken when changing from modern to period costumes, especially with shoes etc but costumes were good and suitable.

I was not sure whether some cues were missed or intended to be late, ie the telephone and the doorbell?It caused some amusement from the audience but came after the appropriate dialogue.

First night is always demanding for all, whether experienced or not,and there was a tendency to hesitation here and there in both dialogue and singing, which I am sure will have been addressed with the run of the production.

This was a very interesting choice of production which must have taken a lot of work, and a great choice in your Autumn show with “West Side Story” which I send best wishes for a successful, popular show.