by Royce Ryton
A very good choice of play for your company with --good acting opportunities for light comedy. But oh how difficult: You have only to look at the cast list of the original production to see who it was who played in it and to visualise
their skill at this sort of material. I feel sure you must have found it enormously hard work (when professionals make it look so easy) particularly the fundamental task of learning lines, but your audience did appreciate it and it was all worth while.
The set was good, there were several very important exits and entrances so you had to have something solid. I could not see if you had any backing inside the loo, but that outside the front door was effective.
Furniture This was quite all right, though I was bothered a bit by the very low seat of the settee, because of people being seen when sitting, but no one was there for long, and it was an ideal piece of furniture for Annabel to collapse on and roll off the back. I did not like the desk chair much, it might have been better to have had something not quite so utilitarian, though the house and furniture were described in unflattering terms.
Properties were fine, though it is a pity the standard lampshade came apart the night I was there, but it was mended in the interval. (Do be careful, backstage people not to rejoin the audience in the interval off the front of the stage, you must go round the back and in the door, its rather like coming into the audience m with make up and costume on. The audience does like to keep up the illusion that the stage is somewhere else - I hope you know what I mean) I would have liked a more up to date phone, but I suppose Mrs S D would not have supplied it?
Costumes These were quite all right
Make up That of
Mrs Cartwright was rather too stagy, and I was sitting behind
Lighting This was simple, a gentle fade of the houselights absolutely on the dot of 7.45.
Sound effects These were not very life like, there could have been more crashing noises when this was going on outside. It makes it so much more difficult for the actors to react and us to believe if they are not right.
Use of stage Every inch was used, most effectively. The settee in the centre
Movement Lots of it and to great purpose. From the
start there was energy, and the first ?fight' with
Annabel and Tom was very physical and got several 'OOh's'
from the audience. He did-not
actually shake her, which he says several times he did, and
though most of the time Tom is fabricating what happened he did keep on about this, The collapsing of the other three women worked well, and the carrying in
and out of the bodies was well done. Also
the falling out of the door was a super moment and one of the great laughs of
the evening; The run round in the last
act was spectacularly good,- how much ad Jibbing went on I don't know: But the tying up was not realistic, to make us believe he can't
more rehearsal. Lovely casual throwing of water about in the last scene.
does include any masking, there were some moments, but. these
were got over very quickly. There were some lovely moments when yet another
body was. unmasked by a new arrival. The
last scene and what the men were doing by
Pace. This was very good, though it was interrupted by the necessity for prompts which was a shame. The whole went very fast with lots of topping of cues, but do remember a few built in slower bits with a dramatic pause or two can be so effective in a piece of this nature.
Entrances and exits Entrances through the front door were all good, and many of the exits also, bodies carried to the loo in particular.
Teamwork This was very good indeed with lots of backing up by one with another.
Interpretation I was not sure whether I believed Tom was a playwright but I am not sure why. Otherwise I believed the characters and the situation.
Tom Bryce A very good interpretation of this enormously
irritating smug husband, no wonder
Annabel lashed out: This early scene went very well, hit there were times that it was so fast that the sense had gone
out of the words, it really needed
going back to. You have to take your tone of voice from what the other person says, for instance Annabel says 'If you cant get your own
Annabel Bryce I felt you were a bit under rehearsed and did not really characterise enough, for instance I did not believe you were getting on with the dinner, and your line of 'I was trying to make it up' Went for nothing in the context of the scene. Some of this scene seemed back to front. But you certainly beat him up, there was enormous realism here. Your collapse on the sofa was good, and your very casual throwing of buckets of water at various of the cast in the final scene was wry funny indeed. But I do think both of you should look at that first scene again.
Hopkins A very
good understanding of this old mate of Tom's. A very long part which you maintained throughout, though
there were several prompts they did not
throw you. Your relationship with Tom was very believable, and the horror with which
of his escapades in
Mrs. Cartwright A tiny part, with not much time to establish a character. I "u, as worried about your make up, but your collapse was real, and your limpness at being carried about was most realistic.
characterisation. Quick on cue and al
Mrs. Stewart Dubonnet A difficult part really, .you had to be rather unpleasant and withstand a lot of verbal abuse, with threatening behaviour. You used your stick well and collapsed poi _+h conviction I think you had a line -'Dont shout. at me' and he was not--(this was another clue as to what the other-character says as to how a line should be said)
Inspector It is al
Isobel A very good first entry as a slightly batty companion, twiddling your show 1 and being pathetic. Your second entrance was swift and your reaction to what you saw was splendid, ending with being knocked out by the Inspector. A very well sustained farcical characterisation.
We did enjoy our evening with you, and congratulate you for undertaking such a difficult play, the sort your audience enjoy
Rosanne Kirkpatrick April 1995