Boundary Players - The Joyride
5th to 9th February 2002.
This is from the Newbury Weekly News.
A whole new spin
'THE JOY RIDE', performed by the Boundary Players, at The William Penney Theatre, AWE Aldermaston, from Tuesday, February 5 to Saturday, February 9
'The Joy Ride' by Georgina Reid is an original play in many ways. It's not just the unusual historic setting that singles it out, it also combines humorous character drama with a very distinctive plot which twists and turns until the last moment.
We all know the story of the legendary Lady Godiva, who rides naked through the streets of Coventry to persuade her husband to free his subjects of their punitive taxes. But this play puts a whole new spin on the tale. The setting of the piece is a Saxon castle, just before the Norman invasion.
From the detailed historical notes in the programme, it was dear that the Boundary Players had risen to this challenge with great relish.
Producers Julie Johnson and Andy Abbott and their team had designed a set that authentically captured the atmosphere of a noble 11th century residence, and the furniture and costumes were also specially made for the occasion, with close attention to detail. The effect was very impressive indeed.
The cast, under the careful direction of Pat Archer, seemed at home with the often subtle dialogue. Will Collins was nicely cast as the superstitious and demanding Leofric, and was well matched with Mary Ann Mendum, as the long-suffering but increasingly petulant Godiva.
Clive Lewington, a regular on the Boundary stage, provided a strong performance as the superficially pious brother-in-law Edgar, and Laura Jones was particularly convincing in the role of his coy wife Christina.
Alice Grundy as Godiva's mother Hilda brought out the fierce and kind-hearted sides of the character with great care, while Anne Phipps threw herself completely into the mysterious role of Old Moll, the soothsayer.
Thomas, the 'Peeping Tom' of legend who alone watched the naked rider pass by, was energetically and humorously portrayed by Richard Mier and Davina Harris gave a warm performance as the all-knowing servant Margery.
This was a very enjoyable production, played to a sadly small audience. Even the torrential rain on the William Penney Theatre roof, which contradicted one or two of the lines to comic effect, couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the cast and company.