14th June 2019
The Woodland Centre, Rustington
Type of Production
Author: Jose Harrison
This farce is set in and around a cricket pavilion, portraying an amateur match at its best, but in truth, this was not so much about the game but more about the lives and behaviour of the people involved. The whole play was performed at a good pace, each member of the cast picking up each other’s cues smartly so the whole production never lacked momentum. The use of the auditorium as the playing field gave the whole play a feeling of realism, the all important score board worked well where it was situated on the side of the stage and the grass area built just below the actual stage was cleverly made into a viewing area making excellent use of the three different levels.
Martin Sworn, as Roger the local captain, was bumptious and full of his own importance ordering everyone around, making it clear that everything was going to be done his way. He was insensitive to everyone else’s feelings especially those of his poor wife Miriam who was at his beck and call at all times. Played by Helen Chewter, she was kept running around organising the teas and taking the blame every time anything went wrong. But even the smallest worm can turn!! Claire Mitchell and Jason Evans, as the comparative ‘newly weds’, were brilliant They provided most of the humour in this production. The time they spent canoodling under a jacket and the treatment of the blister on his bowling finger were hilarious.
John Stovold as Dennis was definitely interested in anyone of the fairer sex who might be interested in him. Sadly it didn’t seem to be his day but that didn’t stop him from trying. Chris Harris as Bob, on the other hand, went visiting his first wife having got out of playing cricket that day. He said that his second wife, Ginnie played by Sarah Johnson, was ill in bed. She, far from it, turned up unexpectedly, put up her sun lounger and settled in, not so much to watch the match, but more to see what Bob was up to. That leaves Robbie Tolhurst as Alex, a very self centred young man who arrives to play with a young woman Elizabeth Pickering whom he apparently picked up the night before. He is full of his own importance and she is terrified of everyone and everything and completely out of her depth. They were all excellent in their parts.
The costumes were excellent, the set cleverly simple and the props, which seemed to be unending, were as one would expect them to be at a village sports match. Lighting and sound all worked well but the star of this particular production must be the director, Viv Culton. The whole show was completely convincing, every inch a cricket match in action.