Lend Me A Tenor

Date 29th October 2021
Society Sale Nomads Theatre Club
Venue Nomads Club House
Type of Production Farce
Director David Black

Report

Author: Stephanie Niland (District 1 Drama Rep)

Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig is a perfect example of farce. Sale Nomads’ cheeky and pacey production directed by Dave Black, was a fantastic illustration of this artform.

Full of all the madcap circumstances you long for in a farce; mistaken identities, people in wardrobes, medicinal mishaps, misunderstandings with hilarious consequences and characters brimming with idiosyncrasies that thread themselves through the play in delightful ways.

After a wonderfully warm welcome at Sale NOMAD’s headquarters, we were greeted with a simple static set of two adjacent rooms- one living room and one bedroom of a hotel suite in Cleveland, Ohio. The wall between is nodded to, but not substantial which just adds to the hilarity as we watch the action in the two rooms simultaneously.

The cast were a superb team and entirely bought in to the glee and silliness whilst still being aware of the small-scale surroundings - it was neatly executed and moments that could have been over played were performed to just the correct level of chaos to suit the space. The audience appreciated this and responded by dissolving into hysterics at every opportunity.

Many of these comical opportunities were supplied by Jeff Harpin as the pompous Sanders, whose performance was a joy and whose slapstick was meticulously choregraphed (just as it should be!) The leap onto the body was a triumph - congratulations on a hysterical portrayal.

Adam Garnett as the hapless Max again was perfect casting, resisting the urge to ham it up, this was a balanced performance that worked perfectly against the rest of the cast and remained true to character all the way through - the audience loved your reactions as much as your vocalised moments. Jenny McDonald as Max’s wife, Maggie, gave a fitting performance - her voice and physicality were executed perfectly for the era and the twinkling cheekiness throughout was enchanting.

Tito, the Italian operatic star at the centre of the whole play, was in the capable hands of Sean Botham. A solid performance with moments of gravitas needed for the role - well done.

A burst of passionate, Mediterranean fire came in the form of Sandie Cowle’s Maria, a wonderful character who whirlwinds in and out only a handful of times but was performed so well in the first appearance that it sets up the anticipation for the next, proven by the audience’s reaction to her entrance and the subsequent antics.

Jenny Hollinshead and Kay Valentine as Diana and Julia respectively, were glamorous and elegant and clearly understood their characters’ roles in the farce. Kay’s ‘knowing’ expressions and the character’s delight made her very watchable and Diana’s more serious and sexy approach was great too. The Bellhop hopping in and out with a child-like excitement and a mischievous glint was a lovely touch, the audience really took to him.

Dave Black skillfully directs this enthusiastic cast through all the layers of misunderstandings and the heightened and hilarious consequences. The audience lapped it up, the atmosphere in the little theatre was buoyant. The high-speed recap at the end was just wonderful - we all appreciated this immensely.

All in all, a well-acted, adeptly directed, appropriately staged, and tastefully costumed farce…a marvellous fun evening!