Courting and Consequences (Love’s a Bitch)

Date 21st August 2014
Society Alnwick Theatre Club
Venue The Playhouse, Alnwick
Type of Production Play
Director Tony Neale

Report

Author: Gordon Richardson

Alnwick Theatre Club’s late summer production was a collection of four one act plays from four masters of comedy, Anton Chekhov, John Mortimer, David Campton and Michael Frayn, all based around a general theme of love, marriage, and the consequences of such.

Starting with a minimalistically dressed stage, the audience was treated to the phrenetically paced Checkhov play, ‘The Proposal’, as negotiations took place to seal the union of two neighbouring farm families.  Having had the proposal we then saw Mortimer’s play ‘Knightsbridge’ about an engaged couple’s misconceptions regarding the girl’s mother in a play full of double entendres that led to an inevitable conclusion.

Two further plays regaled the audience in the second act; Campton’s ‘Resting Place’, about a couple in the twilight of their long marriage resting awhile in the cemetery, contemplating their regrets of the past and their aspirations for their (immediate) future.  Finally, Frayn’s ‘Chinamen’ about the inevitable break-up of a marriage and one couple’s efforts to keep the breaking-up couple apart at a dinner party, often resulting in farcically paced entrances and exits.

Throughout the evening the redressing of stage between plays was seamless and speedy, and use of background sound effects and ‘voices off’ was used to good effect – as was subdued lighting to keep focus on the players.

Particular praise to the two players of ‘Chinamen’ who not only played five roles between them, involving quick changes and accent/demeanour readjustments, but also throughout the play completely redressed the set from a dining room into an empty room.

The whole evening was a great success, with four carefully selected plays which gelled together, giving the audience much laughter and cause for thought, from eleven talented actors under the direction of Tony Neale.

Well done Alnwick Theatre Club.