The Problem With Fathers

Date 17th March 2022
Society In Your Face Theatre (Seaham)
Venue Seaham Town Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Helen Abraham
Written By Tom Casling


Author: Michelle Coulson

“The Problem with Fathers” is a comedy play written by Durham based writer Tom Casling. Tom manages to incorporate moments of great poignancy amongst the laugh out loud moments and creates believable characters as well as stories with a twist.

IYF Theatre Seaham were able to double cast some of the roles in the play so great was the desire by members to get back to performing and also as an “insurance” should any of their cast members need to isolate. The cast I saw were all excellent and I have no reason to believe that their counterparts would have been any different, these alternate cast members were; Irene Smith as Mary, Rita Watters as Rose, Anne Malpass as Alice and Joanne Hudson as the doctor

In the role of Father Dan Shaun Crosby gave a solid performance as the stern but respected priest. His character had a wealth of different emotions to portray as well as a decline in health and Shaun succeeded well in doing this. His long suffering housekeeper with an attitude, Mary Devlin, was played by the talented Norma Ord. Norma is known for her ability to play comedy, the comedy was excellent complete with facial expressions and suitable body language but in this role she also manged to create great moments of great poignancy bringing a tear to the eye, a super performance. Father Dan is visited by the Bishop who was played by Barry Thomas.  His affected stammer and addiction to Dan’s whisky creating a stereotypical comedy role and a performance which the audience enjoyed. The Bishop introduces Dan to a curate Peter Fisher who is in need of some guidance,Peter was portrayed Anthony Chisman. Anthony gave a believable and natural performance, his characterisation was perfect as he was taken through a wealth of revelations and emotions. The two ladies responsible for the church flowers as well as lots of gossip were Rose played by Joanne Hudson and Alice played by Anne Peacock , these two characters were very well portrayed, they had great rapport and their conversations had pace and an feeling of authenticity.  Peter’s friend from his past,Lesley, was played by Alex Cox who also gave a credible and strong performance. The cast was completed by an authentic portrayal of the doctor by Anne Malpass and good support from Emily Harrison as the police officer/ nurse.

The main set was well put together and represented an authentic looking sitting room filled with lots of small items and details which all added to the authenticity. The small side set of the doctors surgery was also completed with lots of attention to detail. There was good use of isolated lighting throughout and sound was good.

Congratulations to Helen and the production team for putting together a thoroughly enjoyable piece of drama despite the challenges that recent times have thrown at us. Well done to everyone involved, a perfect way to come back to the performance arena.