Ladies’ Day review

LADIES’ DAY – Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group

This was the best amateur production I have seen in a long time. The scene setting with the mundane fish factory in front of the curtains was a brilliant stroke of direction and gave a good insight into the four main characters Pearl (Andrea Spencer) Jan (Sally Lacey) Linda (Emily Joyce) and Shelley (Sarah Cullen). These four were particularly well cast, with Shelley suitably dim, Linda very naïve, Jan coming over well as the mother figure of the group, often sardonic with Pearl later dominating the group. The cohesion and accents of the four ladies was very good.

It was hard to believe that Pearl was of an age to be retiring, but once that had been accepted, Andrea Spencer gave a superb performance as Pearl. She was particularly good when telling her secret to Jan and the pathos came across very well with her meeting with Barry.

There were other outstanding moments; the drunken scene of Jan (Sally Lacey) was well executed, without being over the top. The duologue between Shelley and Jim was well performed. Surprisingly, the performance of Rob Bateman was stronger as Patrick, the jockey, having to sport an Irish accent in his encounter with Linda, than as Jim the reporter without accent. In both roles he was convincing and carried them off well. Rob Hall, as both Fred and Kevin was confusing, as it took me some time to realise that Kevin wasn’t Fred the ticket tout drunk and in a suit. Having sorted that out, he played both roles well. Mike Lacey was suitably detached as the ghost of Barry. The way he and Pearl danced without touching was very effective. Lance Bassett as Joe was very solid, although I would have liked to see him being a bit more commanding in his role, when dealing with the ladies.

The excitement did not quite build enough with the prospect of the sixth win, to contrast with the disappointment of losing, although the final scene, back in the factory was a fitting end to a very well directed and performed production. The stylised set was very effective and worked well, with some very clever touches.

I have never encountered, in real life, anyone saying, ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’ which happened on Saturday night. This followed the unfortunate collapse of a member of the audience during the first half. To everyone’s credit, the ensuing confusion did not faze the cast, who recovered well from the interruption and re-started the particular scene as though nothing had happened.

A very enjoyable night, which was shown in the appreciation of the audience and congratulations to all concerned.

Nigel James

27th April 2008