Date 25th June 2018
Society Contrast Theatre Company
Director Anne Burgan: Anne Davenport: Kate Russell
Choreographer Jennifer Appleton: Anne Davenport



What seemed to be a very simple plot for this comedy by award winning writer Peter Quilter, turned out to be a fantastic evening’s entertainment brought to the stage by this talented group. Five women were left equal shares in a dilapidated theatre to save it from destruction. A daughter, an ex-wife, a second wife, a mother, and the deceased owner’s secretary. More, I will not divulge but if you get a chance to see this one- don’t miss it. I was fortunate enough to see this production by a Company who had researched each character carefully and this was definitely evident throughout the piece. The set was well designed and constructed and the background music put us in the right mood as soon as the curtain rose. The choice of music between scenes was appropriate.

The five characters were truly believable, each maintaining their ‘northern’ accent and the script flowed from start to finish. There were no prompts, just one or two inaudible moments at the beginning of the performance due to character positioning. Kate Russell as daughter Theresa, gave a sterling performance trying to keep the peace between all parties whilst Anne Burgan portrayed Pam as the hard done to, down trodden ex-wife taking every chance to  direct snide remarks to the deceased’s widow. Dominique Watkins gave us a glamorous performance as widow Jacquie, taking every opportunity to put her mark on her status whilst attempting to score points over the deceased’s first wife. I loved the character Jennifer Appleton portrayed, Betty, the ageing mother of the deceased. Jenny took on this role, studied mannerisms and moods of the aged, and didn’t miss a trick – a very creditable performance. When I see Anne Davenport’s name in the cast list, I know there is going to be fun here. Anne is fully immersed in any character she portrays, and this role  was no exception, as from start to finish she had the audience in the palm of her hand, reacting to everything going on, her characterisation of Sharon, the deceased’s secretary, was remarkable. Throughout the evening the timing of the script was impeccable, thus extracting every ounce of comedy from the piece and the balance between the characters was established from the start.

An experienced crew set about all tasks with professionalism. The transformation of the set from a sad, ruined theatre with litter strewn round the stage, to a bright newly painted venue was very well done. A montage of local and professional productions was flashed across a screen. The music chosen to accompany the montage was ‘That’s Entertainment’, so appropriate and well received by the audience. I liked the ending with the cast excitedly chatting off stage, which was heard over the auditorium, whilst they quickly changed into their ‘glitter costumes’. The curtain rose to reveal the cast performing a fantastic choreographed routine, as each character took her bow.
A great finale to a fun filled evening culminating in a well - deserved standing ovation. Congratulations All and Thank You Contrast.