Single Spies

Date 27th March 2015
Society Bramrocks
Venue Margaret Mack Room, Rockland St Mary
Type of Production Play
Director Nicholas Dixey


Author: Susan DuPont

An ambitious production in Alan Bennett’s ‘Single Spies’, the double bill of ‘An Englishman Abroad’ and ‘A Question of Attribution’. The only time that I have seen these plays was as a television presentation of the National Theatre production, and obviously the approach has to be very different with budget and facilities on totally changed scales, but how great to use imagination and to take the dialogue and situations and achieve the moods and feel of the piece. Congratulations to the director Nick Dixey for his vision of the play.
 What a dream of a part for Sandra Barker as the actress Coral Browne on tour in Moscow, and her meeting of Guy Burgess (Clive Gordon). These were really strong characterisations, excellent crisp and clear dialogue, good pace, bringing out the humour and the problems and some sadness of loneliness, liked the interactions between these two as they sparked in the dialogue and situation and thoughts. How sad that she knew so few of his London friends and contacts, what almost fun moments as she measured for the suit, the strangely ‘off’ relationship came over so well, and his knowledge that he could not return to old friendships realised. And the cameo roles just completed the story line. A very good and strong delivery of this play.
 To the second play featuring Ken Holbeck (presence on stage displayed and crisp dialogue) as Anthony Blunt, master of the Queen’s pictures, and how very clever to work with the intelligent Restorer, Karen McKabe, with a slide show of the pictures requiring attention so that the audience could appreciate what was under detailed discussion in the gallery. Good acting characters in the smaller roles by younger members of the cast showing talent and potential for future plays: Robert Coyle (Chubb), David Middleton (Phillips) and Paul Tranter (Colin). And what a joy for her to perform: Alexandra Evans as The Queen, very regal, the interaction and interest and the penetrating questioning set up an excellent relationship set-up, and again a crisp and clear dialogue.
 An evening to enjoy in these brilliantly written plays from a master, well directed and well presented to the audiences (delighted at the support).