New Era Players - Someone Somewhere Smiled
12th to 14th February 2015
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
New Era Players: Someone Somewhere Smiled, at New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from Thursday, February 12, to Saturday, February 14
Someone Somewhere Smiled is the latest offering from young, local playwright Chris Billingham who wrote and directed this one-act play, performed by the New Era Players.
The unfolding drama takes us on a reflective journey of love through a number of time periods and generations. In flashbacks, we are invited into the lives of wartime lovers, as well as their intertwining family and friends in the present day.
The intimate setting, minimalist set and tightly-woven plot all combine to focus our attention on the characters, getting up-close and personal as we witness the hopes, disappointments, fears, flaws and triumphs of love and relationships, from childlike innocence to old-age wisdom.
This is an evergreen theme which was spared from mawkish sentimentality by Billingham's warm, wonderful and irreverent wit. His poignant and insightful observation had the audience both doubled-up with laughter and wiping a tear, a great testament to the delivery of a well-chosen cast.
The antics of Jack and Phil (played by Josh Cook and James Amor) in their attempts to buoy up the nerves of their awkward and innocent young mate Ryan (played by Oly Norman) in his pursuit of a date, while demonstrating their own virility and dubious dance skills, came close to stealing the show.
While all the cast gave credible and sympathetic performances, the tender and thoughtful delivery of the angst-ridden teenager Jen, played by Pippa Higgin, shone out, alongside that of her younger sister played by Isabella Heath.
This is an endearing, funny and well-observed drama with great characterisations embracing aspects of love and life with which we are alt familiar; but with a twist.