|Date||18th May 2019|
|Society||Actonians Drama Group|
|Venue||Iron Acton Village Hall|
|Type of Production||Play|
Author: Dee Way
Nicely described in the programme as a 'comedy/thriller,' this play had elements of mystery and (almost) farce woven cleverly together to make an engaging script with plenty of amusing moments.
The direction showed good organisation, with the main entrance up stage centre so that new arrivals could be clearly seen and heard. The opening was wonderfully awkward - setting the scene beautifully for the plot line. There were some excellent pauses built into the production that were most effective, while the variety of pace gave a good sense of reality to the play.
The box set design was very well thought out, with the main entrance near the centre back so that entrances led to characters being clearly seen and heard. I particularly liked the attention to detail in the careful angling of the set sides to create a sense of depth and distance. French windows and a service door provided two additional entrances that gave good variety and space to positioning onstage. The spy hole in the painting was very well done, and the discovery of the camera there was most ingenious.
Sound and lighting were very good and on cue, with nicely subtle lighting changes. I particularly liked the night scene only relying on torchlight - this made the scene much more realistic. Costumes were good and clearly indicated the personas of the characters while also being everyday wear.
However, it was the cast that brought this script to life. The acting was very good on the whole, with some lovely moments of awkwardness in the opening resolving to warm friendships and flirting during the play. Delivery of the script was mostly very clear, despite the occasional prompt, especially in Act 1. However, the climaxes at the end of each scene were very well worked. Act 2 provided a good contrast to the awkwardness of Act 1, with much more scope for clarifying the relationships between characters. This showed through the greater level of energy onstage, especially during the 'interrogation' scenes.
In detail, the Scrabble game behind the discussion downstage was very well controlled, with enough action and quiet dialogue to be realistic, but never overpowering the downstage dialogue. Marie maintained her foreign accent really well and was most convincing as a Romanian Housekeeper. Body language was very well used to strengthen characters and interactions throughout the evening. The dènoument of the play was both surprising and sudden, and as such was very well hidden during the production.
Congratulations on a thoroughly entertaining evening of theatre!