National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region
Society : St Peter Players
Production : Out of Order
Date : 26 March 2015
Venue : Community Centre, Chalfont St Peter
Report by : Judith Watsham
Thank you Tina Barclay for your warm welcome and for sorting out the seating for us. I liked the way the auditorium was set up with appropriately decorated tables too.
Very nice action photographs in the programme which was designed by your Director Georgina Kling who was also, I noticed, responsible, along with Anna Rootes, for publicity and flyer design, and, as if that was not enough, for wardrobe with Assistant Director Steve Cubbage. Costumes generally good but Richard Willey’s jacket looked a little scruffy on one shoulder. Probably fine in the dressing room but the damage was accentuated by the stage lights.
Farce is a very difficult genre as it depends on split second timing – usually with doors and windows opening and closing – and also on the cast being word perfect. I can only congratulate you because the timing was spot on and you were very, very nearly word perfect. Your prompter, uncredited in the programme, was very discreet so momentary lapses on the first night passed almost unnoticed.
I really liked your set, constructed by stage manager Alan Caesar-Gordon and the cast. The sash window worked particularly effectively; I understand that Alan was on the rope and you did a good job as you didn’t actually behead anyone although it frequently looked as though you were about to do just that. The correct numbers on the suite doors, with one just visible across the ‘corridor’ when the other was open, was well designed.
Janeta Kling’s properties were good, especially the oyster and champagne trolley.
No credit for make up – a couple of points here though. The maid’s wig was not very good I am afraid and the ‘body’ was far too healthy looking. One of the cast does say that he looks pale, unfortunately he looked as though he had been sunbathing.
Sound, designed by Ollie Bentley, was effective – especially the radio programmes changing as the radio knobs were turned. Lighting, Les Brewer and Danae Manger, also very good.
The opening, really a pre-act scene, with the maid, then the hotel manager, fiddling around the room was a good idea but a little too drawn out – especially as there was a delay after the actresses’ exits before the play proper started. The maid especially seemed to dust the same items of furniture several times to fill the time she had. Just a suggestion but a small flower arrangement would have been appropriate here and given both of them something definite to do. Also, perhaps, the maid could have brought in a newspaper, magazines or linen? Or a bowl of fruit as it was supposed to be a luxury suite?
Graham Caesar-Gordon as Richard Willey was totally believable as an example of the type of sleazy politician we are always reading about in the press. You were a little quiet at first as we had to strain to hear your dialogue in your first scene but then you hit your stride and were perfectly audible. You had a huge amount to learn and your occasional lapses went almost unnoticed. I hope that by the second night you did not need any prompts at all. Very well acted.
Jane Rawlingson as Jane Worthington was also completely believable as a straying wife keen to cement her relationship with her boss – nice undies too! Another well acted performance.
The Hotel Manager, played by Kirstin Stansfield, was also very realistic. Bossy and concerned by turn. A good portrayal in character all the time.
Haydn Davies as the body. I think it takes skill to be as inert as you were as a dead body! Completely limp too – I really felt for you when you crashed over at one point – not too many bruises I hope? Your bewilderment when you came round worked well.
The Waiter was played by John Sharp and came over exactly as stated in the programme – crafty, unscrupulous and avaricious. You are very confident on stage and your performance helped to keep the whole play tightly together – just as farce should be played.
The foreign maid as portrayed by Wendy Graham was dim but eager to please. Good acting Wendy.
Steve Cubbage as Ronnie Worthington gave another good performance with your emotions swinging between rage and despair. I think, though, that at one point you are addressed a ‘young man’? If so, and I didn’t mishear, perhaps the phrase should have been changed as you looked older than the person addressing you. Nice final exit when your towel slipped!
Liz Peskin played Pamela Willey, another well judged performance Liz, as I have come to expect from you. Word perfect as always – an excellent portrayal.
Tina Barclay, trebling as box office manager, stage hand and the red headed Nurse Foster, was kept very busy. A lovely Welsh accent too. I liked your final exit too, Tina, what bare a***d cheek (to quote the programme notes!)
I have left the best until last on this occasion. Louis Stansfield really WAS Richard Willey’s hapless PPS George Pigden – pitchforked continually into impossible situations, apparently improvising frantically all the time. Your performance lifted the play from being merely very good to being a really excellent production. Very well done indeed.
A good evening, and thank you for inviting me. I really enjoyed the play.
Regional Rep NODA London 11A