It was with trepidation that I approached this assignment, since it is the P&P Players’ celebration of the 10th anniversary of their creation, and to offer criticism would be like going to a birthday party and pouring beer over the host. I need not have worried: the Players have established a strong reputation for the quality of their work, which is reflected in the very high standard on show during the evening.
IT was pleasing to see an almost full house for P&P on Thursday evening, particularly given that the temperature was far more conducive to a night curled up by the fire, but this company’s reputation is such that audiences know they are unlikely to be disappointed. And indeed we weren’t, with three very different plays providing a great evening’s entertainment.
FOR reasons too complicated to explain I found myself reviewing the dress rehearsal of this production rather than an actual performance, but luckily there were enough of us watching for the performers to get at least some audience reaction – and very positive it seemed too.
IT is said that “to hail an actor ‘skilled’, because he remembered all his lines would be to hail a poet ‘skilled’ because all his words were spelt correctly.” Even if I could, in this case, confirm that all Bulloch’s words were spelt correctly, any dramatic atmosphere they imbued was sadly compromised by the inability of the majority of tonight’s players to learn their lines.
PHILOSOPHERS through the centuries have puzzled over the question, ‘What is truth?’, but in ‘Dangerous Corner’ J B Priestley asks the more practical one: ‘Is it always better for the full truth to be known?’ He does so through a group of six friends having an after-dinner discussion on just that subject. The theoretical becomes real when the host seizes on a minor disagreement to ferret away in search of the full truth, which he believes must always be better than concealment. Seeking the truth on a small matter leads to more and more revelations on greater and greater matters until all the characters are changed, and not for the better; it is a favourite theme of Priestley’s that if you strip the veneer from the most respectable people, you will usually find something rotten underneath.
BEING my first visit to the Little Theatre, I was immensely impressed at not only the full house, but the facilities it provides. What a wonderful venue for a community to have; these gems I find so inviting and just wish that more such places existed.
YOU can see why ‘Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime’ is such a popular piece with amateur companies. It is full of elegant Wildean epigrams, it includes some undemanding jokes added by Constance Cox, who adapted Wilde’s story, there are some lovely meaty parts, and the whole thing is done on a single, simple set. An easy play to do, then, but not necessarily an easy play to do well. Any companies thinking of putting it on should go and see this production, which is a model of how to do it well.
THERE seems to be a fashion at the moment for ‘plays within a play’ and P&P, who decided against their original choice of Calendar Girls when they learned how many other local companies would be performing it this season, are consequently very much in fashion with this production.
THIS popular, yet extremely challenging comedy by Richard Harris covers several months in the life of a beginners tap-dance class in a North London church hall. An ex-professional dancer, accompanied by her pianist, tries to instruct 8 “students”, with varying degrees of ability, in the basics of tap-dancing in preparation for an upcoming recital. The students all have their own reasons for being there and the class forms the backdrop for the real focus of the play; the lives, relationships and interaction of these ten, very different, people.