Act Your Age

Date 10th September 2016
Society Melksham Music and Drama
Venue Rachel Fowler Centre, Melksham
Type of Production Musical Farce
Director Sharon Hellyer
Musical Director Geoff Mitcham
Choreographer -

Report

Author: Dee Way

This musical farce was centred on a retreat for celebrities that has run into debt, has few clients and then the staff walk out! This situation was well portrayed, with the rather dated and stark box set with picture rail, two settees, small table, three small portraits and wall lights – and a phone on the wall. 

The script was very funny and well written, with plenty of opportunity to create mayhem onstage, as a group of elderly people from a nearby old people’s home moved into the retreat and had to play the parts of the missing staff when a famous visitor arrived, incognito. The acting was very good, with a variety of believable characters holding our attention and moving the story on.

The recorded music before the play started was particularly good, with its military tones and sense of national pride. The music for the show was well chosen.  However, occasionally the volume was a little too high and singers struggled to be heard. The singing was very good throughout, and the solo sections were very well communicated. 

Costumes throughout the performance reflected personalities and social positions well, for example, the check suit for Mrs Hewitt making her look formidable, while the photographer and reporter looked suitably hawkish in their suits. The doll and the mannequin were good and worked well, even when the mannequin, with its diamond-studded underwear, fell apart! The grey wigs did not all look realistic, but gave the required effect of age, while the makeup helped create the wrinkled faces of the elderly people.

However, the accolades for this performance have to go the actors, all of whom did a great job in creating the wide variety of characters needed. There is a lot of talent here. Playing elderly people is not easy but here, the cast maintained their ‘age’ well. Some gems included the slightly distrait lady, the lady needing the toilet constantly (a reference to ‘Dad’s Army’?) and the walk of the decrepit old gentlemen towards the end. The company freeze in one of the scenes was excellent and well used. 

This was a really fun evening. I have not laughed so much for years and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire show. The whole cast acted well to make the production very successful and a very good team effort. The towels scene was wonderful and most unexpected!  Congratulations to you all, and in particular to director Sharon Hellyer for bringing ordered chaos to the show – and roll on the next production.