Little Waltham Drama Club††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Lucky for Some†††††††††††† by††††† John Dole

,

April 1993

 

"Farce is the most difficult form of theatre to do successfully - the characters have to be real, but slightly more than life size, the pace has to be fast and maintained throughout, and the frenzy which is always inherent in farce has to increase in momentum until the final blackout". Farce is always a challenge and great fun to do." I wrote that n 1935 and it is still a good opening sentence.

Farce is always enjoyed by the audience who sea what is going to happen very often before those on the stage do, and this is one of the man; reasons why it is so popular. It is however very difficult and can only grown with each performance with an audience, and each audience's reaction is different and so one learns how to time lines, an essential ingredient of the genre.

Presentation

Set†††††††††† This was good and firm, well built and solid. The doors were opened and shut many times and the-set never moved. The decor was 1960's holiday camp

Furniture A good strong bed - it needed to be, and stove that looked as though

It might work, the door was left open at one point when stuffed with paper and was obviously not burning - be careful about, this. No amount of miming 'hot' from sitting on it can obscure the fact it is not if the door is left open.

Props Very good. Lots and correct, Enough water in the bucket to be effective and yet not drench the actors too much, also coffee in cup, enough to look real Splendid piece of seaweed,

 

Costumes These were good and added to the characterisation. I particularly liked Mrs. Lott's hats. I would have liked Tom in plus fours, I really donít think Mrs Lott would have let him look quite so shaggy, it was 1968!

Make up††††††††† This was good and appropriate, Hairstyles too - do be careful if you have long hair not to let it obscure year face,

Lighting This was geed and effective for the action., and just enough for the audience to see what was going on after "lights out:'

Sound effects††††††††††††† All well handled, PRODUCTION

Pace††††††††† It is the pace of a farce which makes it work. It has to be definitely worked, on. Cue picking up throughout must spot on. It was, most of the time. Some characters did fall into the trap of speaking slowly they were slow on cue, you cannot be. It is fast, very fart, pause, fast, very fast pause - The pauses are there and must be thought out, They are a very important part of farce - when the penny drops - this is one reasons why it is funny:

The first act is always the most difficult as it setting of the scene, the story line has to be established and the introduction of the characters. This cannot be at breakneck speed throughout as there are of bits of information that the audience has to take in. It must he played, however pretty fast, this first act was slow. I felt you could have cut several minutes off by being quicker on cue. The second act leapt into life with the entrance of Miss Bounce, and from then on did not look back. The third act continued with increasing frenzy particularly when Ernie was on stage - almost too much frenzy as some of the lines - but certainly the final chaos was exactly right.

Movement†††††††† Lots of rushing about and all in character. Well done.

Exits and Entrances One of the most important aspects of farce is the timing of exits and entrances. This was very good indeed, Particularly with Christopher and Bubbles really an excellent piece of timing Otherwise each character lifted the play on entrance, mostly with a good entrance line giving the audience time to take in who he/she was - except Ernie who rushed on and flew about not giving anyone time to gather who he was. This first entrance is very important and must be too rushed. Exits were all purposeful and strong.

Use of stage†††††††† Your extension always works well and your actors handle this change

of level very well. Excellent use of cupboard off right.

Teamwork This is very strong in your company and is never so important as it is in farce, you cannot have a loose link anywhere. Each worked very well with who ever was on the stage and reacted one with another very well indeed.

Interpretation The overall interpretation of the characters was good, but there were one or two who hadn't quite taken the characterisation to the extreme that farce must have.The overall presentation worked well and the audience were much amused.

Grouping This was particularly good, endless movement on the stage, one picture merging into another with no masking. Well done.

ACTING'

Mrs Curtain A very good portrayal of this poor hard one by woman. Good diction, each point put over very well, rather slow audience reaction at the beginning of the play. But inclined to bra slow on cue, you fell into the trap, of being slow overall. Speak slowly of course, its right for the character, but you have got to be fast on cue. It is not easy I know.

Horace Spriggs You spoke slowly which was right, but you must be quick on cue. I felt here your characterised someone much older and did it well, but you still have to be quick on cue, otherwise the action is slowed up. As these 2 characters were on at the beginning of the play the first part seemed slow

Mary Clifford A rather unrewarding part but I felt you could possibly have made more of it. You really have to wring something out of each line. It is different from straight comedy when the lines carry the play, in farce it is the playing that carries the lines, one of the reasons why it is so difficult.

Christopher- An enormous part and on the whole Your audience do like comedy/farce, but I do suggest that you try some that are more tightly written, possibly in the last 10 years, or go back to the farces of the 20ís or 30ís, the high spot of farce writing, or ben Travers, who was the Master.

 

We did enjoy our evening with you, but do feel your material could have been better for your undoubted talents and enthusiasm of your company.

 

Rosanne Kirkpatrick April 1993