|Date||2nd July 2015|
|Society||Marde Hen Productions|
|Venue||The Strutts Centre, Belper|
|Type of Production||Play|
|Director||Stephen Lee Rees|
Author: Joyce Handbury
Marde Hen Productions is a quirky theatre company formed by a group of enthusiastic people with the intention and purpose to produce original theatre work from new writers. ‘Late’ is their first full-length feature and is written by Stephen Lee Rees who not only is the Director but also plays a part. It is a psychological thriller taking place over one evening and set in the heart of the home, the kitchen, where Jenny is waiting for her husband to return but is constantly interrupted by phone calls, the crying of her new baby and the uninvited guests that drop by. Jenny is superbly played by Alex Rampling. She portrays the many diverse aspects of this, and as we later find out, flawed character perfectly. The frustration, the aggression, the reminiscing and later the fear were all so excellently conveyed. Madge, the down-to-earth nosey neighbour, was astutely represented by Marie Stone. Her whole demeanor and delivery was just so perfect for the the part. AnnTaylor was extremely impressive as Dilly, the mother-in-law, constantly enquiring about the whereabouts of her son, Josh, or bitterly denouncing the antics of her ex-husband whilst looking for or drinking alcohol. Into the mix arrives Jenny’s brother Matt, splendidly and convincingly played by Author and Director, Stephen Lee Rees. Matt has left his partner Graham and wants to stay for a while with Jenny bringing all his belongings wih him and a funny scene ensues when Jenny obviously doesn’t want him to stay and removes his bags! It is fairly obvious (and from some cleverly given clues) that her husband must be dead and to this end we have a ‘visitation’ from Josh and there follows a very disturbing and powerful scene between them. Richard Buxton was outstanding as Josh giving a brilliantly moving portrayal of a man who had been totally dominated by his wife. This was a first-rate production on all counts. The cast were all terrific, the set and props were splendid and together made the most of this cleverly, scripted play. Stephen Lee Rees has an undoubted talent for writing, along with other attributes, and he and the whole team must be congratulated on this admirable production. Let’s hope this is the first of many, showcasing local and new writers.