The Basildonians web site is at www.basildonians.org.
Season's Greetings, 1st to 4th February 2017
The play is set in the home of Neville and Belinda Bunker who are celebrating Christmas in their home with half a dozen friends and relatives. Various children are also there and, though unseen, their presence is always felt. Petty squabbles break out and some escalate into crises that rock the household. Hilarious highlights include a chaotically incompetent puppet show and Christmas presents that seem to have a life of their own. Originally presented at the Steve Joseph theatre in Scarborough in 1980, the play has had successful West End productions, and is one of Alan Ayckbourn’s funniest works.
Basildon Village Hall.
0118 984 1122.
Review of The Hollow
15th to 18th May 2013.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
All the usual suspects, but whodunit?
Basildonians: The Hollow, at Basildon Village Hall, from May 15 to May 18
The Basildonians have been producing plays for the past 35 years and The Hollow by Agatha Christie was Samantha Rawdon's directorial debut for the company and a very accomplished job she made of this country house murder mystery,
The novel was written in 1946 with the Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot as the detective but when the stage adaptation was performed, she replaced him in favour of the resilient Inspector Colquhoun of the Yard.
Basildon Village Hall is a splendid venue with raked seating, which made the auditorium very comfortable, and the staging facilities are good.
There was much attention to detail in the set design by Jan McDermott and Nick Thorowgood, that created the garden room of Sir Henry Angkatell’s country house, The Hollow, about 18 miles from London.
The period costumes (Penny Gilks, Sue Thorowgood) were well chosen and reflected the era beautifully.
The eccentric, dotty Lady Angkatell (Helen McCutcheon) and her gun-collecting husband Sir Henry (Chris Pett), who has a shooting range in the grounds, are hosting a weekend party with a house full of eclectic guests.
However, nothing goes to plan when the pompous Harley Street consultant Dr Cristow (Alex Buchan) is fatally shot by a single bullet from a Smith and Wesson revolver.
Apparently, almost all of the guests have a reason to kill Dr Cristow but matters are made more problematic when his oppressed wife Gerda (Corinne Brewer) is discovered with a revolver in her hand, standing over the body.
Amanda Winchester strikingly plays the American film star Veronica Craye who has taken a cottage nearby and was Cristow's ex-mistress and hopes to rekindle their affair, but when Cristow refuses to divorce his wife she declares that "if she can't have him then no one else can."
Then there is sculptress Henrietta (Sandra Wilkinson) who is his current lover and becomes insanely jealous of Veronica's attentions.
To further complicate matters, there is a love triangle between Edward Angkatell (Adam Nightingale), who is also in love with Henrietta and Midge (Samantha Rawdon), who works in a dress shop in London and dotes on Edward.
Trying to maintain order in this chaotic household is Chris Hawson as the dependable, discreet butler, Gudgeon, and Doris (Jen Whelan), playing the housemaid who has witnessed a vital clue to the murder.
Inspector Colquhoun (Tony Place) has the unenviable task of unravelling this tangled web of murder and intrigue assisted by sergeant Penny (Dominic Perry-Brewer).
There is a long wait for the denouement and there was much talk in the intervals about who had done it. Of course it was... ????
Well, I really can't give it away.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1st to 5th July 2016
The Hollow, 15th to 18th May 2013
The Importance of Being Earnest, 15th to 17th November 2012. See the review in the archive.
Cause Célèbre, 16th and 18th to 19th November 2011
Black Comedy and White Lies, 17th to 20th November 2010
Hotel Paradiso, 28th November to 1st December 2008
Whose Life Is It Anyway?, 24th to 26th May 2007
A Pie and a Pint and 3 One-Act Plays, 9th to 11th November 2006
When We Are Married, 11th to 13th May 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Ten Times Table, 24th to 26th November 2005
Music Hall, 18th to 20th March 2004
Three One Act Plays, 27th to 29th November 2003
Mother Figure by Alan Ayckbourn
The Proposal by Anton Chekhov
Between Mouthfuls by Alan Ayckbourn