|Date||19th May 2018|
|Society||Actonians Drama Group|
|Venue||Iron Acton Village Hall|
|Type of Production||Play|
|Director||Andy Fisher & Ann Aplin|
Author: Dee Way
This play was written with good opportunities for humour, which were very well used in this performance. The setting has to be Victorian due to the social expectations implicit in the play so the costumes and attitudes of the times needed to be reflected in the performances. This was done with great skill and sensitivity, creating a wonderful evening of entertainment!
Before the show opened, the programme was very good. It set the scene very well, with good information about the play, the times and the origin of the phrase “Hobson’s Choice”, all clearly presented. Then the piano roll music started, to take the audience back to a time before electricity. The curtains opened to reveal the boot and shoe shop, complete with counter, doorbell, shoe boxes, a fitting chair and a boot display.
The direction of the play was excellent throughout, with enough action and business to hold the interest but not so much that we missed any dialogue. I particularly liked the believable layout of the shop with the workshop entrance at the back behind the counter. This served to emphasise the entrances of the shoe and boot-makers well. I also liked the pace of the play which varied nicely and was not afraid to leave pauses.
The lighting was very good and well cued, adding a lot to the drama of the piece and the sense of period. Sound was good, especially in bringing in the piano roll incidental music. The costumes were stunning and displayed each character’s social class beautifully. The accents were good and well maintained, but it was the teamwork onstage that made this a phenomenal piece of theatre.
The characterisations throughout were excellent, and very well played. There were nice contrasts between the daughters and a lovely deference to Hobson by Vickey and Alice and their suitors. The characters of Mossop and Tubby were very well played, with the slow change in Mossop from lowly boot maker to shop owner, under the strict guidance of Maggie, very clear and well portrayed.
Altogether this play production maintained the very high standards that are the mark of this theatre group, and gave the audience a wonderfully entertaining evening of theatre. Thank you!