Veronica's Room

Date 10th May 2012
Society Harleston Players
Venue Bishop Sancroft School, Diss, Norfolk
Type of Production Play
Director Dawn Symonds

Report

Author: Terry Rymer

To have a view on this thought provoking, disturbing and challenging play you have to look to its author, Ira Levin, also responsible for 'Rosemary's Baby' and the 'Stepford Wives'. No surprise then that this piece puts considerable demands on the actors and indeed the director.
Harleston as ever, can call upon considerable depths of experience and talent.
In Act 1 we are introduced to a scene setting scenario where reality is not unduly challenged but little clues are subtly juxtaposed within the action. Perhaps the cast listing gives a clue in not giving the characters names ! ...'The Woman' (Juliet Lloyd) ,I gather a newcomer to Harleston, provides a well considered interpretation of a perhaps marginally eccentric friend of a deceased relative, Cissy. Her seemingly well meaning request to 'The Girl' to dress up as 'Veronica' seems to be at worst unusual and is aquiesced by an almost bemused 'Girl' (Josie Grimble) whose normality is perhaps over emphasised throughout except for her eager attempts to to encourage the physical touching of her new 'Young Man' (Graham Fuller) which seemed a trifle OTT. Is he a bit over sensitive to her approaches ? Why is he so reticent? It is important for the impact of this play for us to believe in the scenario created in Act 1 and 'The Man' (David Cumming) was central to this as his aged up persona as 'The Womans' partner is totally convincing...But all is not what it seems... From the key turning in the lock at the end of Act 1 we are left pondering the fate of 'The Girl' !.... Act 11 of course creates the most bizarre turn of events as the true identities ofthe characters are revealed...or are they ? This is where the acting roles take on a new dimension and each cast member rose to the occasion. Who really was Veronica? Did she carry out the horrendous murder of her younger sister? Was she indulging in sexually activity with her brother? or was the Young Man actually that brother? or was The Man in cahoots as their son (the Young Man called Conrad) indulges his perversions. Was The Woman really Veronica attempting to relive and exorcise her demons? Who exactly was The Man? so many twists and a particularly nasty end for one of them as family taboos are revealed. Some really good moments of shock and horror were well depicted by this team of actors. More questions than answers and much discussion for audience members as they wend their way home after this sort but revealing play comes to its unsettling conclusion... roll on Calendar Girls.