Sunspots

Date 14th October 2017
Society Leighton Buzzard Drama Group
Venue Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre
Type of Production Comedy Drama
Director Bob Jones

Report

Author: Don McKay

I was asked to write the show report for LBDG’s production of “Sunspots” by the NODA Regional Representative for district 2 Richard Fitt, as he was going to be on holiday at the time and did not want them to miss out on a report, as they are “so good”. As NODA Councillor for the East Region, it has been some time since I was a Rep, and therefore sometime since I’ve been asked to write a report. So on the night of the performance I was hoping that I hadn’t lost the knack, and that the production was going to be a good one so that I didn’t have to be too negative. This is what followed.

The director Bob Jones and members of the committee greeted us warmly, and as we were a bit early, we sat and watched the bar fill up with anticipating theatregoers. One group of girls literally walked in off the street, liked the sound of the play and bought their tickets. When we took our seats in the auditorium we were able to see the open stage, which looked at first like an exhibit at the ideal home exhibition, but upon further inspection and knowledge of the context of the play, I decided it was nothing less than brilliant. The contemporary design with wallpapered and slatted flats, perfectly represented the attic bedroom that the piece was set in. The eclectic mix of furniture was just what you would expect in this family home, and all perfectly put together. I would go as far as to say that this was one of the most well designed and innovative sets that I have seen in a long while, so my heartfelt congratulations go to Mike Ward for his brilliant design and Colin Delamore for the construction and Stage Management.

The sound by Tom Davies had a few issues to begin with, but once the balancing problems were sorted out, it all went well from then on. The stage mic’s were very effective, as was the actors delivery, diction and projection. Dave Miles’ lighting design was thoughtful to the piece, taking into account the difference between natural daylight and artificial light, he applied very good washes and executed them well. Dave also had to have full concentration for the switching on and off of the lights, and almost synched it perfectly.

The first act began with the entrance of Ben Clarke as Tom and Caroline Page as his sister Clare. Later on we were joined by Carl Russell as Joe, the older brother, and Barbara Springthorpe as Trish Turner their mother. The beginning of this first of three acts was, I thought, a bit unsure as if nerves had gotten the better of the cast. Ben Clarke notably, had a very awkward delivery, which made me think that he wasn’t a very good actor. However when I noticed that he had trouble making eye contact with his fellow cast members, I realised that Ben is actually a very good actor indeed, and his portrayal of the “autistic” Tom, was as real and true to life as you can get. Once they got warmed up the rest of the cast bedded in nicely and all gave good solid performances. Carl Russell’s acting style is very natural and believable, as was Trish Turner’s as Lola, these are two actors who are a joy to watch.

Bob Jones direction was excellent, with natural realism that really drew you into the play, as if you were spying on the family through the window. Thank you Bob for a very sympathetic interpretation.

I think to label this play as a comedy is misleading, as there were more chuckles than laugh out loud moments. I think it was more a dramedy than comedy, if there is such a term, but for a play that I have never heard of, I found it very enjoyable and thought provoking. Also, thanks for the cordless vacuum cleaner demonstration, I don’t think that I will be buying a machine that spat out more dust than it sucked up.

This was a very enjoyable production by Leighton Buzzard Drama Group, and I can report to NODA Rep Richard Fitt, that it was my pleasure to do the show report for it.