A while ago we joined NODA, the National Operatic & Dramatic Association, and our first play of the season was the first to be attended by their northern representative Geoff Haywood.
He attended on the last night and his post play discussion with the cast and producer was both entertaining and rewarding – his first visit to our group had impressed him and he told us he was “overwhelmed by the very high standard of your production and the professional approach to staging”. Praise indeed.
Below you can read his review posted on the NODA website.
REVIEW: PASSING STRANGERS
A deserted bar at the Royal Hotel gives the setting, whilst off to the right is the ballroom, a hive of activity as it is “Singles Night”.
Clive, played by Gary Vann, comes into the bar in a very distressed condition. He has just been left by his wife and cannot cope with the situation, tears flow and he immediately has the sympathy of the audience. So why is he here? His friend Malcolm (Steve Howland) is trying to get him to forget but. at the same time he is pursuing yet another one night stand !
Malcolm, a market trader who attempts to pass himself off as someone in the import world, is obviously a man about town, full of his own importance, always looking for his prime objective and behaving like a predatory animal. He claims to know everyone, has met everyone at some time, but it is mostly make believe as it follows that he has an inferiority complex in spite of his continual bravado. An excellent performance from Steve, showing good understanding of the character, clever use of the stage and keeping the action moving along.
Into the scenario come two ladies, Liz (Gill Collins) and Julie (Nic Johnson), both recent divorcees, the first angry and cynical, the other almost game for anything and eager to make a conquest. Malcolm sets his eyes on Liz and tries to persuade Clive to take on Julie. The ensuing chaos, comic situations and diverse moments give us a well rehearsed play with completely believable characters.
Gill and Nic give two outstanding performances as the divorcees, being for the main in contrast to the other yet both helping each other and disagreeing. Their roles were played at such a high level that they absolutely superb.
The fourth character in this comedy, Clive was equally at home showing his depression at losing his wife but also displaying an about turn when he thinks he has become attached to Julie. Here was the showing of a confused mind with some glimpses of rationale.
Complications arise throughout the play, leading the audience wondering about the next situation and the whole thing concludes with a double twist.
The four players had much script to learn and they put it together so well that I can but admire them for the level which they achieved.
Jayne Hewson along with Tom Fryer are to be congratulated with their meticulous direction, not an easy job with this play!
The set was simple and effective, the open door to stage right leading to the ball room was used very effectively with the continual changing of light from the disco.
Excellent play, excellent cast. Well done everybody.Geoff Haywood – NODA (NATIONAL OPERATIC & DRAMATIC ASSOCIATION)