A Few Good Men

Date 15th November 2012
Society Neston Players
Venue Neston Civic Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Paul Kirkbright
Musical Director n/a
Choreographer n/a


Author: Budge Grounsell

It’s amazing what a few good men and one woman can do with a great play and Neston Players just happen to have those few good men and that one lady and a great play. Yes I’ve seen the film but it didn’t have the impact that was evident in this production. Looking around the audience I doubt there was anyone who was not involved in the proceedings,  not that with all that was going on there was much time to glance round the audience.

Although I’m not a habitual playgoer I must say this was a superb nights entertainment and what a cast, brilliantly directed by Paul Kirkbright who not only got so much from his players but also organised his scene changes with such skill in conjunction I am sure with his Stage Manager Helen Stewart and her Deputy Barbara Campbell.

THE LEGAL EAGLES - Ladies first or should I say lady first. Eleanor Gilman (Lt. Cmdr Galloway) really brought the role of the lawyer determined to “stick her oar-in, to fruition and more than hold her own in an ostensibly man’s world. Her confrontations with her counterparts may not have been always right but were certainly convincing.

Lieutenants Kafee (Rob Poston) and Weinberg (Kevin Nugent) for the defense were often the recipients of Galloway’s dogmatism and both showed considerable acting skills and humour in what were long and demanding scenes. (what were the baby’s first words by the way?}

Keith Phillips (Captain Whitaker) as the officer in charge of the legal dept dealt with his difficult subordinates with acumen.

An over exaggerated sense of loyalty to God, Country and the Marine Corps was the catalyst for the events portrayed in this work.

THE MARINES - Colonel Jessop ( Charles Riley); what a commanding officer, an absolutely brilliant study of an officer who tries to hide a vicious nature under a cloak of seeming bonhomie and strained humour. A wonderful performance which earned the disdain of the audience all of who would have, I am sure, like to have hissed when he appeared.

Capt Markinson (Martin Riley) a man wrestling with his conscience against his loyalties and who tries to shepherd his colonel away from the inevitability of the events which are being enacted. A fine portrayal; the scene when he kills himself was very moving, and so well done the person sitting next to me reacted as though it were real.

Lt Kendrick (Richard Dodd) from haircut to high laced boots this man believed he was a real Marine and so convinced his audience that few if any could have forgiven him for the position he takes.

Corporal Howard (Richard Hughes) when he appears in court as a witness was delightful; beautifully underplayed.  Commander Stone (Michael Kennedy) played his cameo role with considerable skill and his courtroom appearance was also very well done. 

Lt Jack Ross(Andrew Culshaw) adopted the role of prosecutor as his own and was very believable as a man who tries to handle an everyday job in the best way possible but, when frustrated in this endeavour shows his steel.  

Lance Cpl Dawson (Steve Morse) and Pfc Downey(Greg Jones) were the accused and both turned in very creditable performances devoid as they were of really meaningful dialogue. They managed to convey In both what they did and did not say their loyalty to the Marine Corps and its tenets. Their shock at their dishonourable discharge was evident and well played.  They were well supported by Gordon Wallis as the trial judge, Richard Hughes doubling up as Lt. Lister , Simon Adderley as Corporal Thomas and an MP, Keith Phillips as the naval clerk and Cormac Riley as an MP.

Congratulations too, to the whole of the backstage team. A show as good as this is the result of an overall team effort. Oh and I mustn’t forget those two diamonds who made the tea - Yorkshire of course!