Wife After Death

Date 29th April 2022
Society Fairlight Players
Venue Fairlight Village Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Adam Smith
Written By A Comedy by Eric Chappell

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

Dave Thursby, nationally loved comedian, is dead and lies in his coffin at home, where grieving wife Laura is to give him a send-off:  ‘a big show’ he truly deserves! Sadly, prolific scriptwriter Eric Chappell well known as the man behind the long running series ‘Rising Damp’ passed away just prior to the commencement of Fairlight’s production – a tribute to him. A serious subject laced with many great and funny lines, and interesting to see how the various characters react, begging the question how well do we really know a person? It seems Dave had a dark side – with a life full of lies, deceit, dalliance in a stationery cupboard and elsewhere in fact, with all the ladies present!

The scene is set, Dave’s coffin lies in state, open for those who wish him a fond farewell – dressed in his best, wearing fine jewellery for the occasion when his best friend, script writer  Harvey, who knows all, is distraught supported by his long-suffering wife Vi  who really didn’t much care for Dave. These two key characters were brought alive by Steve Hill and Charlotte Eastes who barely left the stage and commanded vast amounts of script to deliver. Most creditable. Certainly, keeping up appearances and enjoying the good life Ita Wise gave us a convincing grieving widow Laura who got the ultimate shock, when the stranger in black announced that she was actually Dave’s wife, a chorus girl from long ago that Dave never divorced, and she wanted a bit of the inheritance too! Kevin Prewitt long time agent was played with ease by Keith Miller, who wanted the ‘family image’ to be remembered. Often in shades and the recipient of much of Dave’s ashes! His wife Jane again ably played by Aisling Tigwell looking the part of his secretary – smart, with purpose, clipboard in hand and making sure things were running according to plan but with a secret!

Individual eccentricities were carefully developed by each character under the guidance of newcomer director Adam Smith, encouraging natural fluid movement and action together with comedy technique. The scenes with the ashes’ spillages were particularly well managed by all, with Vi a dab hand with the dustpan and brush and giving a slightly different slant on muesli!

Trevor Lewing and team did their scenic magic this time creating an elegant sitting room with a centrally placed raised coffin later to be replaced with a sideboard – angled French windows to garden one side, with door to other areas opposite. A good fireplace, with mantle shelf well dressed with ornaments and lower front stage a drinks table, with decanter and glasses. Also angled a sofa well used in Laura’s leap of temptation! Always immaculate attention to detail in decor and props provided by Jenny Turner. The costumes quite perfect with thanks to Sandi Mouzer. Sparkling black frock and saucer shaped hat for widow Laura – loved the red lipstick and then the bright red frock for the scattering. Vi neat in suit with fascinator and later flowery dress then Jane conservative suit and neat hat and casual whites. The mystery woman Kay, the loud ex chorus girl very nicely characterised by Kerry Gentleman attired in mystery black for the funeral but a rather frothy outfit for the scattering. Men in dark suits and ties – Kevin in black leather and those great shades again!!

Returning as Production Manager was Vicki Miller, with Peter Hogg in his cubby hole in charge once more of lighting and sound – both running smoothly. The behind-the-scenes team all did their bit – very nice to see a full hall and supporters enjoying themselves.