National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region
Production : Strictly Sex
Date : 15 March 2016
Venue : Chalfont St Peter Community Centre
Report by : Judith Watsham
Thank you for inviting me to attend your dress rehearsal as I was unable to come along to an actual performance. Thank you too for your very warm welcome Ruth and also Tina and the directors of the two one act plays.
It always seems a little unfair to prepare a report based on a dress rehearsal but you all did your utmost to provide the atmosphere of a performance – even to the extent of providing decorated tables; most impressive.
Les Brewer’s lighting was, as usual, effective, and Ollie Bentley’s sound worked well, telephones and door bells ringing accurately, even if the actual phone was not immediately apparent – dress rehearsal glitch I guess?
I don’t think it is fair to comment on your programme, credited to Tina Barclay and Lucy Shirley, as I only have a computer printout but it was well designed and laid out. One thing to note is that NODA has a new logo (see the above heading).
There were a couple of other small problems which I am certain were sorted out by the first night, such as long scene changes and too many prompts, but, hey, that is what dress rehearsals are for!
Liz Peskin’s costumes were all so right and worked well for every character, especially in the first play.
Your first play, Just the Two of Us, was well directed by Steve Cubbage and very well acted by all the cast. Your set, designed by Stage Manager Alan Caesar-Gordon was really excellent. I especially liked the two level approach which worked extremely well as did the glimpse of outside the front door – sometimes this is neglected and when the door is opened the audience gets a good view of the back wall of the hall but not in this instance. It was very well decorated too.
Facial expressions were excellent, especially the sulky, self-obsessed teenager Freya Harvey, a well observed performance from Natalie Nicholls, and Wendy Graham’s bewildered Granny, Pauline Kominsky.
Ruth Kominsky, Liz Peskin, was a joy – Liz you steadily got more and more exasperated by the situation in a very visible way and were in character throughout, acting and reacting to everything going on around you.
How Graham Caesar-Gordon found time to play the part of Matt Kominsky whilst also directing your second play in beyond me! Very well done!
Tina Barclay’s Karen Harvey had just the right touch of diffidence and your reluctance to be involved came over very well.
Bev (Yvonne Roach) portrayed the ‘baddie’ very well – again your facial expressions were good.
Jane Rawlinson’s butch Robin was another well observed performance.
Your second play, Little Grimley Presents Strictly Sex Factor (On Ice), was in the mould of the other Little Grimley offerings from David Tristram with the same established characters. This is just a personal opinion but I felt it was not as amusing as some of the other plays. However, Graham’s direction was sure and worked well. All four characters were well portrayed and, most important in this piece, you all acted as though you knew each other, in your stage personas, very well indeed which reinforced the impression that you really were a village committee used to working with each other’s strengths and weaknesses
The bossy self opinionated Gordon, John Sharp, was excellent –I think most of us have known a Gordon in our lives!
Jane Rawlinson as the dippy and rather thick Joyce was totally believable and your expressions when on roller skates were hilarious. Well acted.
Lucy Shirley as the ‘diva’ Margaret was excellent, reacting to others well and your expressions, too, were very funny.
Nic Barton played the trouble-making Bernard in a very believable way – you gave the impression at all times that you were on the committee for one reason, to wind the others up!
All in all a most enjoyable evening and my apologies for the delay – caused by my unplanned stay in hospital which was followed by a preplanned holiday. However, I have finally caught up and hope to do better if you invite me to your next show! Incidentally, I hope your website will be updated soon!
Regional Rep NODA London 11A