Full review from NODA critic.
National Operatic & Dramatic Association
Society: Forum Players
Production: Barking Mad
Date: 17th Sept 2010
Venue: Bourne End Community Centre
Report by: Rita Carpenter
Written by Anthony Deacon a member of the group, directed by him and in which he also acted, It is not usually a good idea to direct and also take part and most amateur groups who endeavour to do this do not often succeed but in this instance it was a success. This may be in some part due to the play having been staged 15 years earlier and as Anthony had also previously taken part he was probably so familiar with the concept that it posed no problems for him. The play was extremely well written with a great deal of comedy and a twist at the end.
FRONT OF HOUSE
We received a very warm welcome and I was able to have a chat before the performance to learn a little more about the group as it is many years since I last did a review for them. We were also offered a most welcome coffee during the interval.
STAGING, SET AND LIGHTING
Designed by Graeme Robinson, with artwork by Rick Accastello and well constructed by Graeme, with help from Steve Phelps, Nigel Hunt and Roger Clarke the set was simple but effective and the large clock on the back wall which changed time with each scene was a clever tool to depict the differencet times of the day. Lighting was effective and the sounds of a crowing cockerel, bird song and the mooing of a cow gave a good impression of the countryside together with the 'subtle flickering of light before the inevitable death ..
Stephanie played by Ros Bartlett and married to Graeme Robinson as Jeff was the spiky and frustrated wife after her father's fortune. Graeme played the unfaithful husband whose best friend was the whisky bottle to perfection. He delivered his lines to illicit the best laughter and was able to display his emotions with just a look or a glance.
Emily Mealor played Melissa Ros's avaricious sister only interested in the money to settle her debts and afford her the lifestyle she felt entitled to. Roger Clarke was Barks the father and although he did not have a very large role his performance was vital to the plot and was cleverly woven-in by the author.
Anthony Deacon as Mr. Blue the mystery man gave a fine performance. His appearance as the housekeeper at the start of the play was a masterstroke. The doctor (only seen from behind)was interesting, he wore a dark suit but his white socks did not match his attire. It was not evident whether this was the result of a quick change or a small clue to give the audience pause for thought.
Both Sam Dean as Sergeant Hobbs and Jessica Robinson as WPC Adams played their parts well, but an accolade must go to Steve Phelps for his superb performance as Chief Inspector Alpen, he was hilarious and insensitive and with the best lines he caused the most laughter throughout
This appears to be quite a small group making the most of their members. The choice of play was excellent and I hope Anthony Deacon has more plays up his sleeve.
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