False Widows, The Warninglid Players, Seaforth Hall, November 18
There are always risks involved in seeing am-dram productions and theatregoers are well aware of them.
The main concern, of course, is that non-professionals are performing an expertly crafted piece for the stage and they might not be very good at it.
Understandably, a punter might ask: ‘Is the show worth my time and money?’ In my experience it’s always been worth the gamble, but the risk increases dramatically if an am-dram group member writes an original show.
Thankfully, seeing False Widows by young Warninglid Player Rebecca Bond represents time and money well spent.
It’s a lighthearted comedy set in 1955 after the rather exotic death of Roland Ayre, The Earl of Dunshire. The funeral should be sad, but it should also be straightforward for Roland’s widow Verity.
However, to everyone’s surprise, a woman called Mona turns up, claiming to be Roland’s wife as well. Over 48 hours the man’s home becomes a battleground as family members squabble over the inheritance, uncover secrets and search for hidden treasure.
Lesley Jenks is probably the show’s strongest performer as the socially conservative Verity, delivering all of her lines with a sense of impatience as her character knocks back drink after drink.
Lorraine Jordan is also on good form as the ditzy Mona, who seems to be more interested in sulking, arguing and faffing about than solving problems.
Meanwhile, Rose Collard works well as the smug Jo, who thinks the drama is all great entertainment until she unexpectedly becomes part of it.
They’re fun characters but Jon Pack might actually have the best role as the hilariously boring Edwin. It doesn’t sound like a challenge to play such a dull man but how Jon keeps a straight face I’ll never know. The other cast members – Doug Webb, Samantha Oliver and Kirsty Bishopp – have less comical roles but they still get the most out of their material.
Overall, it’s a good show. My only real criticism is that some parts of the play feel slightly ‘over-written’. The witty dialogue goes on too long in places and the script occasionally tries to be a bit too clever.
However, there’s a lot to enjoy in False Widows.
Most importantly, it’s a particularly strong debut by Rebecca Bond, whose next production, I’m certain, will also be one to watch out for.
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