November 16, 2011

An Ideal Husband

What a remarkable collection of talent there is in Pirton. In November Pirton Players' production of "An Ideal Husband" did true justice to one of Oscar Wilde's most important plays.

The themes of the play are as relevant today as they were in 1895 when it was first performed: blackmail, political corruption, dishonesty, good and bad. This is what some call "the social" element. This might have led to a dark and depressing play but at the outset the "comedy" element is firmly established with witty, gossipy banterings, particularly amongst the lady characters.

This contrast continues throughout the play until all parties are reconciled and the "villain" is exiled.

There were sterling performances in a number of demanding roles. Mark Sadler, as Sir Robert Children, portrayed an essentially decent man carrying the weight of an old indiscretion. Not as "ideal" as his wife, Lady Gertrude, played by Janet Tackley, had come to expect. Janet's compelling performance as a lady almost too good for her own good made Lou Robinson's scheming Mrs Chevely even more sinister and calculating.

On the other hand, we had endearing performances from the pretty, chatty ladies, Jilly Rogers as Mrs Marchmont and Lucinda Rowe as the Countess of Basildon and the rather horrifying but never-the-less supremely entertaining Lady Markby, played by Judy McDonnell, with lots of sarcastic, politically incorrect remarks as she struggled to confront the issues of the day. I loved Aidan Dwyer's lecherous Earl of Caversham --- what fun at a party! Michael Tackley as the likeable Lord Goring was a good foil to the more austere Sir Robert Chiltern and being a bit of a dandy was lucky to have captured the affections of the lovely English rose, Mabel Chiltern, played smart and sassy by Yvonne Taylor.

Even the supporting roles had their serious and comedic sides --- tha rather fastidious Vicomte de Nanjac, [Chris Carrell] who might have preferred to be English or at least be among them, the long-suffering Phipps [Peter Donovan] and the good servants Mason [Anton Jungreuthmayer] and James [Paul Kerswill], parts cohesive and true to the time.

The play was superbly directed by Phill Brown and his assistant, Lorretta Concannon, with Stella Turner, as Producer, excellently pulling together the myriad of tasks that make a memorable production.

A lot of thought by Anton and Graham Gibbs obviously went into the set design. It proved to be a good decision --- I felt I was actually a minor guest at the opening party observing the interaction of some rather beautiful people in stunning costumes and fabulous hair.

Appreciation must also got to Players and volunteers who constructed, painted, "propped", prompted [or didn't have to, as the case may have been] and who carried out other activities such as lighting and sound, front of house, publicity, photography, programme design, ticket sales and last but not least, the bar. Altogether too many names to mention here but each worthy for his or her contribution.

This was a most enjoyable performance. I know George Bernard Shaw enjoyed it too and his remark is worth repeating: "..He [Oscar Wilde] plays with everything; with wit, with philosophy, with drama, with actors and audience, with the whole theatre". [Review by: Rosie Hamilton-McLeod]

Director - Phil Brown

Assistant Director  -  Loretta Concannon

Producer - Stella Turner

Cast

James  -  Paul Kerswill
Lady Cheveley  -  Lou Robinson
Lady Gertrude Chiltern  -  Janet Tackley
Lady Markby  -  Judy McDonnell
Lord Arthur Goring  -  Michael Tackley
Mabel Chiltern  -  Yvonne Taylor
Mason  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Mrs Marchmont  -  Jill Rogers
Phipps  -  Peter Donovan
Sir Robert Chiltern  -  Mark Sadler
The Countess of Basildon  -  Lucinda Rowe
The Earl of Caversham  -  Aidan Dwyer
Vicomte de Nanjac  -  Chris Carrell

Crew
Assistant Director  -  Loretta Concannon
Costumes  -  Amanda Vines
Costumes  -  Beth Harding
Costumes  -  Valmai Guess
Director  -  Phill Brown
Front of House  -  Val Bryant
Front of House  -  Rosie Hamilton-McLeod
Front of House  -  Ann Fausset
Front of House  -  Victoria Turner
Front of House  -  Clare Easterbrook
Front of House  -  Julie Dawson
Front of House  -  Viv Tyler
Front of House  -  Sophie Davies
Front of House  -  Kevin Quinn
Front of House  -  Janet Quinn
Hair  -  Fran Manning
Hair  -  Amanda Vines
Hair  -  Justine McCreith
Lighting  -  Nicola Stammers
Lighting  -  Debbie Bassnett
Photography  -  Dave Woodward
Photography  -  Rupert Hennen
Producer  -  Stella Turner
Programme Design  -  Sarah Oliver
Prompt  -  Susie Welch
Props  -  Vanessa Cole
Props  -  Jackie Cowan
Props  -  Sue Kennedy
Props  -  Gena Edwards
Publicity  -  Peter Donovan
Set Construction  -  Dudley Gentle
Set Construction  -  Dave Tinney
Set Construction  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Design  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Set Design  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Painting  -  Jackie Cowan
Set Painting  -  Sue Kennedy
Set Painting  -  Max Cooper
Set Painting  -  Jacob Wood
Set Painting  -  Victoria Turner
Set Painting  -  Paul Turner
Set Painting  -  Rebecca Turner
Set Painting  -  Chris Carrell
Set Painting  -  Dave Tinney
Set Painting  -  Aidan Dwyer
Set Painting  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Painting  -  Stella Turner
Set Painting  -  Penny Picken
Sound  -  Peter Johnson
Sound  -  Daniel Eccles
Stage Crew  -  Paul Kerswill
Stage Crew  -  Gavin Worsey
Stage Crew  -  James Vaughan
Stage Manager  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Ticket Sales  -  Pirton Village Stores

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