National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region
Society : St Peter Players
Production : Comedy Triple Bill
Date : 21st March 2014
Venue Chalfont Community Centre
Report by : Rita Carpenter
We received a very warm welcome on our arrival from Front of House including the programme seller and had time to purchase drinks before being shown to our seats.
It was a Supper evening and the hall was laid out with tables making for a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I was informed that this was the first time each of the directors had had an opportunity to direct and one act plays are always a good way for them to try out their skills and see if they are any good and if directing is for them, good directors are hard to find. I had come across all these plays before and it was nice to revisit them.
This was printed on good quality paper with photographs and details of all members of the cast. There was no mention of NODA and it would be appreciated to have some details and the logo if at all possible. The programme cannot be entered into the competition without this, so please do consider it for the future.
With three one act plays it is not always easy to have a different set for each but with the expertise of Alan Caesar-Gordon (brawn) and Tina Barclay (brains) the first and third were superb. ‘Bang You’re Dead’ offered a modern setting tastefully decorated and very impressive. The second play Last Tango in the Chalfonts, was played out front of curtain and all that was required was a table and four chairs. The final play What’s for Pudding offered a completely different set. How this was achieved was nothing short of miraculous. The back stage crew were not mentioned in the programme but how they must have worked to get two leather sofas onto the set with not a sound, this was a mammoth task and carried out in complete silence a great achievement and my compliments must go to everyone involved in this .It certainly was amazing.
Janeta Kling was on props and Ruth Corner and Brenda Snuggs ensured that everyone was attired correctly and in keeping with each of the plays.
BANG YOU’RE DEAD
Directed by Helen Capewell it was a tale with a twist. Georgina Kling offered glamour to the piece, she was elegantly dressed but had a tendency to rush her lines. Steve Element playing her love interest was the suave and good looking Marcus but I didn’t feel he demonstrated enough menace as a would be burglar. Theo Spink was confidently played by Haydn Davis but the accolade for the best performance must go to Liz Peskin she was brilliant and stole the show. The twist at the end got surprised murmurs from the audience which meant they were engrossed in the action, an interesting interpretation.
LAST TANGO IN THE CHALFONTS
I love the Little Grimley plays and have come to know them well. It was a clever twist to rename this with of course permission so that it could be used by the group to mention local organisations which raised an extra laugh from the audience. This was directed by Graham Caesar-Gordon. Credit goes to Haydn Davis for changing his persona so quickly to play Gordon the frustrated director, Kirstin Harrison played the acid tongued Margaret with ease and Helen Capewell was the dim and ditzy Joyce so desperate to appear in a musical. Steve Cubbage was great as Bernard the bolshy set designer. I have seen this play many times and it is like meeting with old friends again but each time it has a different interpretation.
WHAT’S FOR PUDDING?
Saving the best till last this was the funniest of the three plays. Well directed by Alan Caesar-Gordon (what a talented pair) this had a great script and all the actors made the most of every line. Graham Caesar-Gordon played long suffering Jack with ease as though the role had been made for him. Tina Barclay was excellent and very funny as his wife Mary. Liz Peskin demonstrated her versatility in taking on a different role as the rather dim Maureen but certainly came into her own as the action progressed. Nic Barton played her husband Ted admirably and Steve Cubbage making his second appearance of the evening was Dennis the very drippy visitor. It was a great ending to an enjoyable evening and one of which the audience certainly approved.
The last time I was invited to review the Players was in July 2011 and it was great to be back to see such an artistic bunch, do hope I shall be invited again as I have been informed by several people that both their pantomimes were fabulous so I hope I don’t get to miss another treat.