Rules For Living

Date 8th November 2019
Society Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue Georgian Theatre Royal , Richmond
Type of Production Play
Director Beki Stevenson


Author: Rhoda Fraser

What a riotous night!!  The audience joined a family meeting for a Christmas meal and encountered their “Rules for living”, skilfully directed and acted, but also giving us food for thought if you’ll pardon the pun.

Beki Stevenson, the Director, read the play and earmarked it for RADS even before it was first performed at the National Theatre. During the play we encounter the family’s own rules which were displayed on screens around the theatre, this worked well for the audience as a reminder and as the play continued more rules were added. Beki you must have worked so hard with your cast they never strayed from the rules, Matthew eating the mince pies, Carrie singing and dancing, and Edith cleaning franticly, just some of the rules I will cover later. Beki, “gold star” status. Well done for taking on this production.

Here I must congratulate all the backstage crew, Garry Winn (set design and build) the set worked well as most people were on stage all the time and sight lines were good. Then you had to consider a wheelchair to be manoeuvred. Suzy Brown (Stage Manager) and her Backstage crew (Alex,Lara and Gemma) coping with hot food to be consumed, to quote Lara, “ummmmm....messy!” but great job girls that turkey made our mouths water.

Heading the family was Edith (Barbara Hughes) always wanting the best for her sons and Husband; she gently guided the family through the board game to the Christmas meal, wonderful moments in the kitchen with great comic timing.

Elder son Adam (Graeme Mulvey) going through a bad patch with his wife and trying to make out all is well to the rest of the family, grumpiness shone through, then jealousy followed to the food fight, a most wonderful crescendo.  There were so many accents for your “rules” adding to the mayhem of the evening, well done.

Adams wife Sheena (Helena Langford) has the job of explaining about Cognitive behavioural problems, how our thoughts determine our feelings and our behaviour, as her daughter was suffering from this. Needing help she turned to Matthew her brother in law, who we find has always had a soft spot for her. I liked the changes of expression from the pair as they battle with themselves over this situation.

Younger son Matthew (Scott Fenney) who fancies his brother’s wife, but brings his girlfriend home, well she invited herself really. Oh you coped so well with all the eating, I would even go so far as saying you made an art of it, Bravo.

Matthew’s girlfriend Carrie (Tilly Greer) so loud and lovely, an asset to any party I think. The audience could hardly wait for your next “rule” moment, Go Girl.

At the end of Act 1 we meet Francis, Edith’s husband who recently has suffered a stroke which has affected his speech, and as he can’t walk now is in a wheelchair. Francis was played by Charlie Grumbley with great effect and respect, not an easy thing to do.

There was a quick appearance of the daughter from her bedroom (Scarlett Worrallo) to round off the play, hope to see more of her next time.

Through the production we were lost in the heart of this family and all its challenges. A very real interpretation from the cast of Christmas traditions we all experience, the food fight at the end was such fun, I did one Christmas flick a mini sausage over the table, but next time it has to be full on.