Night Must Fall - Review

NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)

Review by Hazel Hole
Night Must Fall title

Title: Night Must Fall by Emlyn Williams
Director: Simon Reader
Assistant Director: Andrew Dace
Performed at Dovercourt Theatre Group Studio on Friday 17th November 2017

A warm welcome was received from the front of house team, led by Manager Margaret Coleman. I had a detailed discussion with Director, Simon Reader, before the show started and also met the Chairman, Graham Green and the cast at the end of the performance.

The play was a psychological thriller written by Emlyn Williams in 1935 and the action took place in the sitting room of Mrs Bramsonís bungalow. The set, designed by Simon Reader, was simple and erected on the floor of the hall (as there is no stage) and was entirely appropriate to the period. Blackouts on the set signalled changes in scene. There were few props and limited effects. However, the dust on the books was realistic !

The play was well cast and the 8 actors worked very hard in the interpretation of their roles. The prompt was redundant as everyone was word perfect !

Linda Potter played a very convincing role as the demanding, moaning and petulant semi invalid aunt, Mrs Bramson with her niece, Olivia Grayne, obliged by poverty to care for her.

Gemma Quinn played Olivia with skill, not being convinced by Dan and increasingly suspicious of his motives and actions. Dan was the bellboy from the local hotel who gradually became a key member of the household. Lewis Rodger developed this role really well moving from charming young man to controlling Mrs Bransom.

Jane Dunbar as the bossy housekeeper Mrs Terence played a strong role as did Katherine Johnson as the delightful and somewhat naive maid, Dora Parkoe, who was pregnant by Dan. Great hair designs for both these characters ( Graham Green ) Richard Kemp-Luck was a suitably distracted, rather bumbling and absent minded Hubert Laurie who was always keen to avoid any trouble and confrontation.

Rob Porter playing Inspector Belsize needed to be more decisive and challenging in the role as befits a police inspector. Nurse Libby, played by Sara Talbot-Ashby was a small part, well performed.

There were no obvious microphones and most of the cast projected their voices well and clearly. It was difficult on occasions to catch all the dialogue by Inspector Belsize and Nurse Libby, especially when they were not facing the audience.

Stage Manager, Angie Reader managed the limited changes well. Costumes and makeup suitably reflected the period, thanks to Chrissie Donegan, Maree Noons and Megan Day. The sound effects ( radio and voice of Lord Chief Justice ) and lighting effects were well managed by Greg Potter, Chris Holman and Steve Gregory.

The loyal audience in this small venue was appreciative of this compelling production and I congratulate the Director and the group on a very polished performance which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Good luck with your next production.

Hazel Hole