Summer Amusements - Review
NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)Review by Hazel Hole
Summer Amusements, a trio of comedy delights
Directors Maree Noons, Richard Kemp-Luck, Katherine Johnson
Performed at Dovercourt Theatre Studio, Dovercourt on Wednesday 31st July 2019
I was welcomed by Front of House Manager, Margaret Coleman. The evening consisted of three short and unrelated comedies, with appropriate set changes and a short interval between each.
1. The Ugly Duckling, by A.A.Milne. Directed by Maree Noons
The small stage area was set as a castle complete with rather ornate thrones, a balcony backdrop and velvet hangings. The storyline revolves around Prince Simon, played by Jordan Brown and Princess Camilla, played by Deonne Newson who are due to marry. The King, staunchly played by Rob Porter and Queen, wonderfully played by Linda Potter are worried as Camilla is not at all beautiful and they arrange for a beautiful servant, Dulcibella, played by Gemma Holman-Quinn to impersonate the princess until the wedding. Unbeknown to them, the Prince considers that he is not handsome enough and arranges for his servant, Carlo, played by Greg Potter to impersonate him. Both the pretend prince and princess are really rather stupid and worked really hard to provide much of the comedy. The cast is completed by the Chancellor, well played by Andrew Dace who was splendidly hesitant , dull and sub servient. There was some superb acting and character interpretation throughout this comedy and there was good use of lighting and excellent sound effects eg the drawbridge opening. Costumes were very appropriate and regal.
2.Mere Mortals, by David Ives. Directed by Richard Kemp-Luck
The setting here was a skyscraper backdrop, with images of New York and 3 construction workers sitting on a “steel” girder high up enjoying a lunch break. Joe, played by Jordan Brown, Frank, played by Greg McDowell and Charlie, played by Richard Kemp-Luck all maintained their American accents well. The dialogue between the three started with discussing the content of their respective lunch boxes and general domestic chores. It then swiftly moved to fantasy as Charlie announced that he was really the Lindbergh baby with Joe and Frank then “owning up” to being Marie Antoinette and the son of Tsar Nicholas. All these actors carried their parts well and Richard is to be congratulated as both directing and simultaneously taking a role is no mean feat. I loved the effects produced by Maree Noons (sic) wafting across the back of the stage fluttering birds, clouds and balloons as she went. Again, some good sound effects and use of lighting.
3. The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley, by David Tristam. Directed by Kathering Johnson
For me, this was the funniest of the three plays. The story was about a village amateur dramatic society reduced to just four committee members. They were facing competition from a rival group in the next village which had been set up by the ex wife of Gordon, the chairman. In addition, the group was facing a lawsuit for compensation by the audience who had attended their last panto, claiming that they had been psychologically damaged as a result!
Gordon, grumpy and autocratic and superbly played by Rob Porter decided that the rival group’s opening night had to be sabotaged and the committee then wove a very intricate plan. Chris Holman played the character of Bernard, very “rough and ready” and his antics with a twisted trombone and a banana had the audience in fits of laughter. Margaret, played by Sara Talbot-Ashby, came across as a stickler for protocol, and tried hard to keep the committee to the agenda. She was instrumental in planning the means of sabotage and encouraging the others. Joyce, played by Linda Potter, was portrayed as a well meaning, but essentially rather simple and unintelligent and Linda played this role with great skill.
As I have come to expect with this talented group. all played an important role, from Stage Manager, Maree Noons, Assistant Stage Manager, Katherine Johnson, to costumes, lighting, sound, props, make up and hair.
This was a most entertaining evening and congratulations to all involved for pulling off this ambitious production.
Hazel Hole MBE