A small family business

Date 25th July 2019
Society Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue Georgian Theatre Royal , Richmond
Type of Production Musical
Director Gregan Davis


Author: Rhoda Fraser

On a very warm night RADS held their own, well done.

From the start with practically all the cast on stage for a surprise party, Gregan Davis the Director managed to skilfully position his cast as they hid in the front room of the set waiting for Jack to arrive home after his last day at work. He would then be then taking over running the family furniture business. Gregan and Brian Rogers set design with an upstairs level bathroom and bedroom, a downstairs hall, front room and kitchen (with working sink) made great use of the deep theatre stage, Top Marks.

Jack McCracken (Mike Walker) was the lynch pin of the play, not knowing his family were hiding in the front room Jack had his own ideas of how to celebrate with a bit of sexy roll play fun with his wife, leading to riotous fun, memories of Brian Rix, we loved it. Mike has boundless energy and always keeps the action moving on. Jacks desperation on finding that his own family are fiddling the business out of more than paper clips, and then his own involvement in the plot gave us more amusement, congratulations.

Jacks wife Poppy (Sam Morrison) a new member to RADS gave us a lovely characterisation of the supporting wife and mother, always trying to smooth things over and keep everyone happy, good stage presence I hope to see Sam again in future productions.

Ken Ayres (Doug Clayton) Poppy’s Father and founder of the furniture company who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s hence his handing over to Jack his role as chairman to the company. A gentle portrayal of the forgetfulness of this disorder very nicely handled.

Jack and Poppy have two daughters, Tina (Melanie McCabe) and Samantha (Katrianna Torbet) both looked naturally at home on the set, Samantha particularly encompassed the moody teenager who got herself into trouble shoplifting, and later taking drugs. Tina’s husband Roy (Max Walker) always willing to fit in with his wives wishes, which is probably just as well as she gave the impression that she could be quite a stroppy lady if she didn’t get her own way.

So we met the character Benedict Hough (Miles Templeton) a private detective. Where do I start, what great characterisation of a smarmy, grease pot he developed to entertain us with. His false grin will haunt my dreams! He appears because of the shoplifting offence, and in the end Jack employs him to investigate the spy within the family business on the promise that the shoplifting offence will be dropped.

This leads us to finding all the family secrets. Jacks brother Cliff (Charles Lambert) has been buying the furniture at cost price and selling on to the Rivetti family, of which we see a number of the sons, all having affairs with Cliff’s wife Anita (Nicola Bryan) I am not sure how many of the brothers we saw, the program tells me five, but I can say they were all good looking lads!! It is nice to see Charles gaining confidence with the RADS and Nicola bringing the bounce of youth well done coping with those boots on the Georgian Theatre rake.

Other family members we meet are Desmond Ayres (Martin Ash) who is Poppys Brother, and his wife Harriet (Kath Torbet). Desmond, an amateur cook driving his wife into a state of dislike for any food, has been stashing his money away to follow his dream, owning a restaurant in Menorca. Martin portrayed the man watching his dream disappear well collapsing in the kitchen with his ruined food. Kath gave us great entertainment as the twitchy, dog loving, food hating wife.

Yvonne (Suzy Brown) Harriet’s Sister trying to add support to everyone gave warmth to her character, must also be credited for Make up for the production.

Thank you to all the backstage crew, Stage Manager, Bev Owens, a long standing support to the drama and musical theatre groups locally, also Brian Rogers in charge of lighting and sound who must have been melting in the sound box.  There were numerous others giving support in so many ways particularly the set construction team who must have had a mammoth job, the set was splendid.

Gregan Davis as Director must be pleased with the overall production we enjoyed our evening with you all and the twists of a family business, cumulating with the bathroom scuffle and death of the Smarmy Mr Hough, applause well deserved to you all.