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March 13, 2013

Stage Fright (One Act Plays)

Three casts, three completely different locations – a challenge for any acting company but as always Pirton Players rose magnificently to this challenge.

With a cleverly constructed set allowing three different main entrance points we were easily convinced we were in three completely different settings.

First, an isolated cottage on a stormy winter’s evening where the White family are whiling away the time awaiting the arrival of a visitor with tales of far off lands including one about a monkey’s paw with magical powers. The cast clearly portrayed the clash between scepticism and the attraction of getting one’s wishes granted but the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ was amply borne out as the play drew to its tragic close.

A quick change of props took us straight into an urban dwelling where Miss Pickhart from the ‘Town hall’ desperately sought to retrieve the outstanding rent. Was that box under covers really for ‘sawing a lady in half’? Yes it was! Through high drama and strong comedy acting we were brought to the completely unexpected (for me) final twist. For me this was classic Ayckbourn writing excellently executed by the cast.

After the interval we returned to a Victorian drawing room where Mrs Carrington and her servants are preparing for one of her pseudo séances but when her guests arrive events take on an unplanned reality as Lady Gilbert unexpectedly becomes a true medium and is used to help reveal the identity of the murderer who has been stalking the streets nearby. This was the longest of the three plays with the largest cast who successfully and skilfully kept us on the edge of our seats throughout.

Particular credit must be given to the sound design and operation. All the plays required effective, powerful sound effects – howling wind, creaking doors, menacing footsteps to name but a few and all this the sound department produced in trumps.

But a successful production requires everyone involved from directors, producer and actors, however large or small the part, through to backstage crew, front of house and publicity and those who make the tea at rehearsals and keep everyone going when things get tough to do their bit. This must have happened yet again because once more Pirton Players came up with an excellent evening which I thoroughly enjoyed and truly felt ‘Stage Fright’. I commend everyone involved in any way.

[Review by: Ann Gibson]

Is there anybody there?
Director  -  Mark Savage

A Cut in the rates
Director  -  Dave Woodward

Monkeys Paw
Director  -  Debbie Bassnett

Mentor to Directors  -  Loretta Concannon
Producer  -  Susie Welch

Captain Patterson  -  Graham Gibbs
Dr Wilson  -  Michael Tackley
Herbert White  -  Joe Embler
Hopkins  -  Trevor Clark
Ivy  -  Victoria Turner
John White  -  Dudley Gentle
Lady Gilbert  -  Judy McDonnell
Lord Gilbert  -  Dave Tinney
Mary  -  Sophie Davies
Miss Pickhart  -  Maxine Shearer
Miss Reid  -  Lucinda Rowe
Mr Sampson  -  Aidan Dwyer
Mrs Carrington  -  Janet Tackley
Mrs White  -  Stella Turner
Rosalinda  -  Marta Szreniawska
Sgt. Major Morris  -  Peter Donovan
Thomas Ratchett  -  Chris Carrell

Bar  -  Ed Picken
Box Office  -  Stella Turner
Costumes  -  Valmai Guess
Director  -  Mark Savage
Director  -  Dave Woodward
Director  -  Debbie Bassnett
Front of House  -  Penny Picken
Front of House  -  Nikki Clark
Front of House  -  Alison Cotterill
Front of House  -  Antonietta Tinney
Front of House  -  Lorna Sexton
Front of House  -  Margaret Johnson
Hair & Make Up  -  Fran Manning
Hair & Make Up  -  Victoria Turner
Lighting  -  Peter Johnson
Lighting  -  Stuart Clark
Mentor to Directors  -  Loretta Concannon
Producer  -  Susie Welch
Programme & Poster Design  -  Sarah Oliver
Prompt  -  Rosie Hamilton-McLeod
Prop Maker  -  Chris Carrell
Props  -  Gena Edwards
Rehearsal Photography  -  Dave Woodward
Set Construction & Design  -  Dudley Gentle
Set Construction & Design  -  Dave Tinney
Set Construction & Design  -  Trevor Clark
Set Construction & Design  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Painter  -  Nikki Clark
Set Painter  -  Ellie Tonge
Set Painter  -  Loretta Concannon
Set Painter  -  Penny Picken
Set Painter  -  Lizzie Rowe
Set Painter  -  Thomas Rowe
Set Painter  -  Lucinda Rowe
Set Painter  -  Janet Tackley
Set Painter  -  Susie Welch
Sound Design & Operation  -  Mark Sadler
Stage Crew  -  Debbie Bassnett
Stage Crew  -  Mark Savage
Stage Crew  -  Stevie Shaw
Stage Crew  -  Dave Woodward
Stage Crew  -  Gena Edwards
Stage Crew  -  Jill Rogers
Stage Crew  -  Barbara Robertson
Stage Crew  -  Viv Tyler
Stage Crew  -  Aidan Dwyer
Stage Manager  -  Paul Kerswill

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