Short Stories 2

Date 21st March 2024
Society Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue The Georgian Theatre Royal
Type of Production Play
Director Scott Fenney, Charles Lambert & Lee Bowles

Report

Author: Richard Hamilton-Leighton

I will always relish an opportunity to visit the wonderful Georgian Theatre Royal, however I was particularly excited this time though, because I was to watch Short Stories by Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society (RADS). Short Stories is a set of three, One Act Plays by different writers. RADS had completed a similar presentation a few years back, and whilst I was not the NODA representative at the time, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance back then. Naturally, I was curious to see how they would wow an audience this time round. 

Cracker’s Christmas written by Jilly McNeil and directed by Scott Fenney was a joy to watch. The Cracker Household, with father, John Cracker (Greame Mulvey), mother, Joan Cracker (Rachel Hall) and daughter, Jenny Cracker (Eleanor Harland) hosts grandmother Beryl (Jackie McLeod) to a fabulous christmas feast when there is not just one, but two unexpected visitors. Aunt Daphne (Susie Ordish) and Aunt Delphine (Karen Davies) have a long running family feud and have never been in the same together for many years…until now! It is clear that these performers were excellent in their field. The characterisations from every actor was excellent with each demonstrating clear use of body and tone to present their characters. Rachel Hall did a great job as Joan trying to pacify the situation and stop Greame Mulvey from frantically trying to resolve the tension within the home. It is very challenging to specifically point out any particular person in this cast, as the cast worked so very well together, but it must be said that both Greame Mulvey and Jackie McLeod led the cast very well. It is clear that the direction from Scott Fenney was clear and concise as the whole performance worked very well. 

The Break Room written and directed by Charles Lambert was a success. It is always a great feeling when you can see society support and encourage their members to write and present their own material, so a congratulations must be given to RADS for this. The cast consists of Craig (Stuart Kerr), Megan (Eleanor Harland), Sandra (Rachel Hall), Fliss (Abbey May Sankey), Tony (Andy Spivey) and Christian (Dan Westgarth). They presented the story of Craig’s unlikely fortune and the sometimes turbulent relationships that colleagues can form within a workplace. Stuart Kerr led this cast by providing a well developed portrayal of Craig. Every workplace has a person who has the attitude of “I don’t get paid for that” and Stuart embodied this excellently. Rachel Hall and Eleanor Harland gave very different characterisation in this performance than in Cracker’s Christmas - it was a great demonstrations of why they are both such accomplished performers - well done to you both. Andy Spivey playing Tony gave a competent performance as the manager and newcomer to the restaurant Abbey May Sankey, playing Fliss, portrayed a bright dewy-eyed character with charm. Dan Westgarth played the slightly cocky Christian. Dan has a natural ability to be able to charm his audience, which is maybe why he did so well in this role playing the ever so smug and charming character. He did a good job and brought the audience with him throughout the story. 

Lastly, and by certainly no means least, Bride Before A Fall, written by Robert Scott and directed by Lee Bowles was the triumph of the night. The cast consisting of Charlotte Finn who played Madelyn, Dan Westgarth who played Victor and Jennifer Roberts who played Lottie, blew the socks of the audience with an exceptional performance. The comedy timing was impeccable. The characterisation was sublime. The line delivery was excellent. I’m not quite certain how I can explain well enough how great this performance was. All three of the characters knew how to hold their own on stage and each commanded the stage in a different way. Dan was able to portray the horrifically dismayed boyfriend with great style, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which Charlotte was able to persuade him to murder her best friend and his girlfriend. There was such nuance in their performance which was a pleasure to watch. The blindley ignorant Lottie, played by Jennifer was performed incredibly well - this was a high energy characterisations and she was able to keep it up throughout the whole show. Well done to this entire cast, between the three of you, you had the audience in stitches and right in the palm of your hands - Bravo to you all!

Overall, this was another great production by RADS as they continue to grow from strength-to-strength in their exceptional production catalogue.