SHORT STORIES

Date 22nd March 2019
Society Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue Georgian Theatre Royal , Richmond
Type of Production Play
Director Martin Ash, Kathryn Torbet, Charles Lambert
Musical Director -
Choreographer -
Producer -

Report

Author: Rhoda Fraser

A 3 act play can be challenging for the Set Builder as the set has to fit the criteria of all 3 plays. Brian Rogers built a very simple set, painted in the theatre colour that fitted comfortably into the 3 different situations.

The first production, “Still Life” by Noel Coward was directed by Martin Ash who is a long standing member of the society. Set in a station cafe there was plenty of comings and goings which Martin negotiated very well enabling us to see the action as well as people reading newspapers and drinking tea, it had a natural feel to it. I also liked the idea of the main characters always sitting on the same table, their special place.
Well done to Moira Mason playing Laura Jesson, she took over the part with only a couple of weeks to learn it. She was brilliant portraying the character of the lady unsure whether to start an affair with the Doctor who helped her in her hour of need. She showed a mixture of passion and anxiety towards the situation most believable.
Dr. Alex Harvey, played by Charlie Grumbly was convincing and showed empathy towards Laura, well supporting her character. The Station master played by Doug Clayton gave us a great “upbeat” characterisation with plenty of humour, a nice contrast to Beryl Waters played by Martha Templeton, his love interest. She ran the cafe in her shy way, quietly blushing, but loving his attention.
Cameo roles played by Linda Baldry (Dolly Messiter) and Alex Caffery (Mildred) both gave a spark to the end of the production. I loved Dolly’s hat a nod I think to a lady needing attention. Thank you, Lynn Kerr in your supporting role as wardrobe mistress to all three plays.
The cast were well suited to the parts leading to a successful evening’s entertainment, a special mention to Jim Brown as Mentor as well as lighting and sound technician.  I was particularly excited to see the train appear and leave the station giving the extra natural feeling to the play.

The second production of the evening was “Being Rose”, directed by Kathryn Torbet, in her own words, “a remarkable play” I will second that. Kathryn a relatively new member to RADS had put a lot of thought into bringing the different eras of Roses life to us. Each introduction through the 50s, 60s, 70s, and to the 90s had a musical hint which led us to that era while props were changed, all worked very well. She even tackled directing her own daughter, Katrianna who played the part of the sulky, kick back at authority schoolgirl Rose with conviction
Playing Rose’s Mother was Jennifer Roberts, who along with Scott Fenney played between them ten roles. Strong performances from them both, such energy portrayed, excellent performances given.
All the four actresses playing Rose were well fitted to the roles they were given and I enjoyed watching Rose grow up through the years they portrayed leading to Jackie McLeod, the elderly Rose. She gave a gentle characterisation of a lady drifting through her memories, all so beautifully done. Although not always fully lit Jackie never fell out of her character, she made us all want to love her.
Well done to all, a play that gave us every emotion. The Rose characters dancing and gathering the elderly Rose on her death was a beautiful way of ending on a joyful vibe, on what was a sad event, and yes I did have a silent tear.

The final production, “The Genna Years” was directed by Charles Lambert. He has a variety of talents under his belt from prop making to actually been on stage playing a part. Set in a boarding house with a mix of characters gave Charles plenty of work. The five experienced actors gave us a great atmosphere of friends all in this together, camaraderie you could call it.
Barbara Hughes playing Ruby, the owner of the property always gave the essence that she was in charge and her rules were to be followed, but she showed a softer side at the end bringing out drinks to share. Barbara must have been with RADS nearly 40 years and can always be relied on to give a polished performance.
Martin Ash playing Abe portrayed the worried Father waiting for his daughter, well done learning lines while directing another play. Flur played by Alex Cafrey did her best to comfort Abe showing warmth and patience, a lovely portrayal of the gentle young woman.
Jordan Hamilton Leighton as Chas, a gritty Northerner brought wonderful comedy to the play. The brash, tell it as it is character, racing for the bathroom gave us a few choice lines to chuckle at, he gave a good contrast to the quieter characters.
Also in the play was Jennifer Roberts playing Holly, I am truly in awe of her, taking on so many  parts in two different plays and never putting a foot wrong.

Thank you RADS for such a varied evening and good luck to your budding Directors.