NORTH ESSEX THEATRE GUILD

 

Little Waltham Drama Group

 

Girls Night

By

Louise Roche

 

Friday 17th July

 

Introduction

 

Four girls aged fortyish, go for a night out in a karaoke bar, a girl that doesn’t turn up, a friend that died when she fell of the back of a moped 20 years ago and now is an angel. They spend most of the night discussing their sex lives and throw in 14 karaoke songs, doesn’t seem like a good recipe for a good play.

However what the packed audience witnessed, was a fantastic nights entertainment

 

Right from time we entered the hall set out with tables and chairs, the two bouncers on the door and the very smartly dressed lady dealing with the show tickets this helped to create the right atmosphere for the show.

 

The same goes for the very well produced and informative programme with a great bouncy front cover, full of information, cast photos and adverts.

 

Lighting and Sound

 

It’s always a compliment to the lighting and sound crew when the audience don’t notice it, as the only time that they do is when it’s not very good.

 

The lighting was just right without any shadows on the actor’s faces or on the set. The sound was well controlled rather that having it so loud that it drowns out the singers.

 

So just a couple of picky points. There were a few times when the use of two follow spots would have been of advantage as the operator had to switch from stage left to stage right very quickly and the noisy fans in the glitter ball sport lights I found rather annoying.

 

Costumes

 

These were spot on as they depicted the type of character that each of the girls had

Sharon’s “angel like” bikers jacket Carol’s leopard skin top and gold tights, Anita’s pink tights and boa, Lisa’s smart back and white outfit and Kate’s rather plain, (compared with the others) dress. The costumes of the members of the chorus were also just “right”.

 

 

 

Set, furniture and properties

 

Eight different sets, sometimes with just a notice on the back wall depicting the time and place and at one point a two cubical ladies toilet including the toilet pans.

 

A lot of thought had gone into the staging and into the way the sets were set and struck in the short time available between the various scenes

 

The furniture was exactly right for such a bar with high drinks table and four high stools, maybe there should have been five as there was supposed to have been one more guest.

 

On the lower part of the staging another sets of stools and a table for the chorus

 

All of the properties were in keeping with the play, again its another of the things that only gets noticed if they are wrong.

 

Acting

 

Sharon

 

I would have thought that, as Sharon had died some twenty years ago, at the age of seventeen she would have remained at that age. However this was not the case in this production

 

Saying that Julie gave a confident performance as the “narrator” of the piece moving the cast and audience from scene to scene.  I would have preferred to have seen her fixed more on her stage right stool, and pointing her asides and observations more to the audience and just occasionally getting involved with the action and dialogue,

rather that moving from stage left to stage right and back again

 Julie did tend to let her voice drop towards the end of her speeches which was a pity in another wise very nice performance

 

Lisa

 

I loved Kim’s “man eater.” Lisa with good body language told us exactly that  she was out to have a good time.

 

Her description of childbirth brought tears to one eyes

 

Anita

 

Susan gave Anita a great wacky character totally believable with a “head full of pills,” who was out to enjoy herself

 

This was a lovely comic portrayal with plenty of pace and strength

 

 

 

 

 

Carol

 

Jackie obviously relished the part of Carol and with the gold leggings and leopard skin top she really looked the part and like the other three girls she gave us her all, right from the beginning of the show to the end

 

Kate

 

The more subdued girl of the piece wearing  a skirt & cardigan but lets her self go by getting drunk and dancing.

 

The drunken scene was very nicely done by Jenny without the staggering around that some actors seem to thing drunks do

 

The change from the quiet one to the flirty one was nicely conceived

 

 

The Chorus

 

These ladies were lovely singing with broad smiles on their faces and were every part of the action on the play.

 

The bouncers gave us the introduction that the play needed, and I for one checked that my mobile phone was turned off, as I didn’t fancy a visit from his mate.

 

 

Direction

 

Girls Night is one of those plays that either works well or fails completely depending on the way it is directed; with so many scenes the piece required precision timing and very tight direction.

 

The various characters are for the actors to define, but moving the play forward is where the problems begin. However this production was fast and furious moving swiftly and smoothly from scene to scene and from song to song

 

The directors gave the production just what was required for this play to be a success

 

The audience had a “Great Night Out” and so did I

 

 

 

Michael Poole

Adjudicator