Slim Chance & Home Free

Date 15th October 2016
Society Tollesbury Amateur Players
Venue The Centre, Tollesbury
Type of Production Play
Director Joanne Smith

Report

Author: Alexandra Berriman

The opening of Slim Chance featured Elvis the caretaker getting the hall ready for the local slimming group.  Richard Maxwell played this comic role well and set the scene ready for Slim Chance to begin. 

 The first to arrive is the group organiser Jean, played by Jo Austin.  She played the frustrated club leader really well, the one who took everything seriously and wanted the rest of the ladies to succeed.  We really felt for her and the frustrations she faced with the variety of personalities within the group.  Betty Macey as Betty, Nicki Hatton as Irene, and Lesley Fowler as Anne were next to arrive, followed closely by Debbi played by Alison Murray – all winding Jean up further.  Finally, the usual group was complete with the arrival of Majorie and Edna played by Allison Taylor and Jackie Quilter, the double act of the story.  The arrival of Louise played by Ella Frost changes the dynamic in the group a little as they all wonder why she’s there, and start to question their own reasons for wanting to lose weight. Everyone did a really good job at showing the different characteristics of the ladies, and despite it being a one act play I felt like we got to know all the characters.  The pace was good throughout, and the story flowed well.  It was a very funny piece overall, with a lovely message and it was delivered well by the cast.

 The second production was Home Free.  We were welcomed to the care home by Peter Backwater played by Ian Clark; and then introduced to the residents.  The set was fitting, and definitely gave us the tired sitting room feeling.  Enid and Gladys were sat together ‘they’ve been friends a long time’, and then there was Jim, Keith and Arthur.  Keith played by James Oakley was the dominant character in the scene, winding up the residents and moving the story forward.  The manager of the care home would occasionally interrupt action by bringing his imaginary tour around the building; and then later Stan would wander through looking for Sidney.  The actors always spoke clearly and so we were able to follow the story. Each character developed their own way of moving and speaking as well, which helped set up the characters physically. There were some touching moments, and I suspect care home residents could sympathise with some of the comments made - particularly about families not visiting.

 Clearly TAPS is a small and loyal organisation; it was clear there was a lot of support for each other and opportunity for people to try out their skills on the stage. Well done to all involved in one or both of the shows and to Joanne Smith for directing both and writing Home Free.