A performance packed to the brim with unending vigour, vivacity and passion; these characters will keep you hooked endlessly with their infectious charisma!
Prolific British author J.B. Priestley’s farcical play kicks off when a group of old friends are interrupted during their silver anniversary by the abrupt discovery that they are, in fact, not actually legally married. The three couples, in their incredulity and distress, begin reevaluating their marriages as suspicion begins to brew over the true sincerity of their affection for one another. It’s a performance packed to the brim with energy, humour and antics!
With the synopsis out of the way I’d like to begin with a more-than deserved opening remark: WOW!
Each and every character within this performance was enthrallingly charismatic and, much to the audience’s delight, humorously dynamic- infallibly embodying the expression, animation and vigour of theatre with captivating energy and personality. It really cannot be understated how flawlessly compelling these actors were in their reflection of these characters, brilliantly epitomising their distinct attributes- from their accents to demeanour to their each and every idiosyncrasy. Whilst each cast member is more than deserving of significant praise (genuinely there are LISTS of things I loved about every character), the actors of Maria Helliwell, Albert Parker and Joseph Helliwell particularly had me agog throughout the performance- masterfully embodying the characters with wonderful expression, animation and professionalism.
Moreover, the brilliantly comical Henry Ormonroyd and Herbert Soppit seemed to especially grip the audience’s attention; the hilariously executed disposition of an incurably drunken yet seemingly wise photographer, alongside the deadpan and humorously laconic Herbert Soppit were so perfectly executed by their respective actors that you just could not resist cracking a smile when they appeared on stage.
Particular praise has to be given to the actors of Clara Soppitt and Mrs Northrop; these characters were more than a joy to watch (I had serious doubts that these people were even STUDENTS) demonstrating professionalism that could rival the quality of what you may see even on the tellie. Clara never spoke with anything but conviction, confidence and clarity, all combining to create perhaps one of the best performances all night round. Clara herself is a snobbish, condemnatory, rather distasteful woman, but frequently I found myself wanting her back on stage because her performance was just THAT compelling, which really speaks volumes to the expertise and experience of the actor.
Contrastingly, Northrop, the disgruntled yet amiable servant of the household (or perhaps the “impudent woman” as she is so commonly referred to by Clara) was quite possibly my favourite performance of the evening. Unendingly charismatic and passionate, Northrop CONSISTENTLY stole the show for me with her intoxicating animation, irresistible dynamism, and expertly delivered humour! Bravo indeed! Even down to the very minuity of details these actors did not falter for a second; impeccably compelling and irresistibly captivating.
Certain characters within the performance did appear a little more timid than their peers- noticeable in their quieter volume and less expressive and animated disposition which, up on stage with the charisma of characters such as Annie Parker, Lottie Grady, and Rev. Clement Mercer, did create a contrast that seemed a little underwhelming at times but these were certainly few and far between. By no means does this discredit the spectaculairty of the production on the whole; I say with utter genuineness that every character within this performance each had a moment that captured my total attention, and these small slipups only reered themselves as minor roadbumps in such an enjoyable journey.
My last point of criticism concerns the seemingly increasing abundance of smoke that seemed to fill the stage throughout the performance. It did become somewhat distracting from time-to-time with great clouds of grey fluttering above the actors during their scenes, but this contributed little in outweighing the countless merits of the performers.
I give my sincerest congratulations and gratitude to the entire cast for endeavouring to create such a fantastic performance (everyone’s dedication really does show), and I will certainly be looking forward to attending future productions from the Theatre Group Society!