Behind Closed Doors

Date 28th June 2013
Society Bonkers Theatrical
Venue The Masque Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director Mark Walker

Report

Author: Nanette Lovell standing in for Caroline Jervis

I always look forward to seeing Mark Walker’s productions – they offer a challenge to both audience and actors and “Behind Closed Doors” was no exception.  Set quite a few years ago this play is about domestic abuse inside marriage and regrettably is still current.  Two families, one from the Surrey stockbroker belt and the other in the north, a working class family from Doncaster.  The one thing the families have in common is that the fathers are both controlling bullies with fists as a solution for dealing with their “inadequate” wives.  The two families have been brought together a result of their daughter, Sandra, from Doncaster (Emma Walker) and son, Tarquin, from Surrey (Jonathan Cook) getting it together at university and about to announce their engagement.  The play begins with a visit to the Heptinstall household where we meet the bully of a father, (played by Alan Galway) his slow witted son (Bobby Mutch) and his downtrodden wife (Jane Walker) who is used to getting a “belting” but has some spirit of her own  and often gives (verbally) as much as she gets..   Cut to the Surrey family where the father (Lester Cooke)  has reduced his wife (Leisa Cooke) to a quivering wreck by emotional abuse which eventually results in physical abuse. How do the wives deal with this – well Pearl from Doncaster has invented a gentleman companion, Tom (played by Seb Goss) who is the antithesis of her husband whilst Harriet from Surrey seeks solace from the vodka bottle.  The two young people tell their individual families of their intended engagement and plans are made for the two families to meet at a mutually convenient venue.  The worst type of behaviour is exhibited by the male members of both families resulting in Vernon and Harriet leaving shortly after arriving.  Back home in Surrey the emotional and severe physical abuse begins. This play explores the different social attitudes in a dramatically comic way to  begin with but as the mood darkens when the brutish red mist and balled fists become unbearable and unstoppable with unpleasant but not altogether unexpected results.  Superb performances by EVERYONE in the cast. Once again another blockbuster of a drama from Bonkers Theatrical.  Many,many congratulations to everyone involved in this thought provoking production with outstanding direction by Mark Walker.