Out of Focus

Date 16th April 2016
Society Bath Unity Players
Venue St Barnabas Church Hall, Southdown, Bath
Type of Production Comedy
Director Katrina Cowie
Musical Director -
Choreographer -

Report

Author: Dee Way

I gather that the group have performed this play some years ago, hence their familiarity with it. The story is based on the absurd situation where several different activities – brownies, Badminton match and a slide show - are booked to occur in a church at the same time. They are then all roped in to perform in the village pantomime. The play was certainly very aptly set in a rather run-down church hall, with no stage curtains and a dilapidated feel. One area of the stage had been screened off to form the hall kitchen – very nicely done with a real kettle, mugs and spoons adding to the realism. The church newsletter on the tables in the audience was a lovely touch.

The direction of the play by Katrina Cowie and Kim Cardoza used the various exits and windows to good effect, with characters opening the window to talk to the ‘brownies’.  The rehearsal of a Pantomime in the second act would bring a chuckle from anyone ever in that position: the cast who don’t want to go onstage, who are late or who cannot focus on their part. The play was full of surprises and the characterisations were very good.

The pantomime rehearsal section of the play was particularly well done. The take-off of thigh slapping, the number of lines containing ‘Super!’ and the singing were a good reminder of village hall productions. The costumes here were particularly good in overdoing the ugly sisters, having Linda as Cinderella and having David as the cat!  Indeed, the costumes were very good at enhancing each character all through the production. The walking boots and mismatched clothes and hat for Leonard, the rather dowdy dress for Evonne, the high heeled boots for Kath and Helen’s blue uniform as Brownie leader helped to identify their personalities well. Act 2 saw the extremes of pantomime costumes, which were lovely!

Lighting and sound were just right, with a feel of church hall pervading the performance, although there were heavy shadows on the cast’s faces at times. I really liked the use of the piano for the pantomime number. The music choice was cheerful and very suitable.   However, what made this production so enjoyable were the cast performances. The teamwork between members of the cast was commendable, and the result was a very good evening of entertainment.