Mortimer Dramatic Society
Shut Your Eyes and Think of England, 20th to 21st October and 27th to 28th October
When Mr Pullen comes to the office on a Saturday to finish the books for audit, he's astonished to find his employer, Sir Justin Holbrook, in the penthouse flat with a call girl. Unexpectedly, Lady Holbrook arrives and Holbrook passes the girl off as the second Mrs Pullen. A rich Arab sheik is expected and England's entire fate depends on Holbrook signing an agreement with him, but Holbrook suddenly collapses and Pullen has to impersonate him. The arrival of the real Mrs Pullen and others leads to an impenetrable maze of confused identities. Eventually Mrs Pullen seems to be going off with the sheik and Pullen installed, presumably permanently, as Sir Justin, with all that entails, including his highly attractive Lady.
St John's Hall, 22 West End Road, Mortimer Common, RG7 3TF.
Book online via the website or call Tom on 0778 533 3321 or Terri Chopping on 0118 966 2206.
Review of Night Must Fall
26th to 27th May and 2nd to 3rd June 2017
Review from Newbury Theatre.
Starting off as a whodunit, it pretty soon becomes clear who did. Emlyn Williams’ Night Must Fall, set in the 1930s, then morphs into a psychological thriller.
After a short prologue from the Lord Chief Justice (Lawrence Picking) denying the unnamed murderer’s appeal against murdering two people, the scene is set in the isolated house of the fierce and grumpy hypochondriac Mrs Bramson (Caroline Martin), occasionally attended by Nurse Libby (Suzan van Rhoon). Her niece Olivia (Paula Stenson), reserved and plain, lives with her and is treated as a servant by Mrs B. Hoping to marry her is the boring Hubert (Iain Vernon Wilson), but Olivia can’t bring herself to agree. Mrs Terence the old cook (Megan Bush) is generally stroppy, and Dora the maid (Tamsin Puddephatt) announces she’s pregnant.
Mrs B demands to see the father of Dora’s baby, and into this dysfunctional household comes Dan (Phil Collins) who works at a local hotel. Charismatic and charming, Dan wins over Mrs B (but not Olivia, who sees through him) and insinuates himself into the household.
There were strong performances from the main characters Phil Collins, Caroline Martin and Paula Stenson, as well as Tamsin Puddephatt, convincing as the maid. Phil Collins was believable as Jack-the-lad and his changes of mood showed his psychopathic and vulnerable sides. Caroline Martin had the clear authority to control her underlings, managing to be thoroughly unlikeable. But she needed to speak louder and more slowly at times. Paula Stenson had a difficult role as Olivia’s love-hate relationship with Dan developed despite her better judgement and her natural reticence.
But… two problems with this production. First: prompts; lots of them which slowed down the pace, and the actors needed to be quicker picking up on cues. Second: Mari Fleming’s direction. The main actors had all the skills needed, but the production never really gelled. Dan’s mood changes needed to be more clear-cut, and his scared dithering when talking to the rather dim Inspector Belsize (Tom Shorrock) seemed to be out of character. Olivia’s changing feelings towards Dan could have been brought out more clearly – it wasn’t obvious why she would have saved him by claiming the hat box.
The set and costumes, as usual at Mortimer, were impressive and appropriate to the era. Olivia’s rather dowdy dresses seemed right for her character!
An interesting play with some good acting, but also some flaws.
Night Must Fall, 26th to 27th May and 2nd to 3rd June 2017
Up Pompeii, 20th to 21st January and 27th to 28th January 2017
The Small Hours, 21st to 22nd October and 28th to 29th October 2016. See the review in the archive.
Death By Design, 27th to 28th May and 3rd to 4th June 2016
'Allo 'Allo, 22nd to 30th January 2016
Beyond a Joke, 23rd to 24th October and 30th to 31st October 2015. See the review in the archive.
Kindertransport, 29th to 30th May and 5th to 6th June 2015
Deathtrap, 17th to 18th October and 24th to 25th October 2014. See the review in the archive.
Third Week in August, 30th to 31st May and 6th to 7th June 2014. See the review in the archive.
Murder Mystery Dinner Evening, 17th to 18th January and 24th to 25th January 2014
Kindly Keep It Covered, 18th to 26th October 2013. See the review in the archive.
Calendar Girls, 31st May to 1st June and 7th to 8th June 2013
Entertaining Angels, 19th to 20th October and 26th to 27th October 2012
Natural Causes, 21st to 22nd and 28th to 29th October 2011.
See the review in the Archive.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, 27th to 28th May and 3rd to 4th June 2011
The Amorous Ambassador, 22nd to 23rd and 29th to 30th October 2010. See the review in the Archive.
The Day After The Fair, 28th to 29th May and 4th to 5th June 2010
Another Opening, Another Show, 15th to 16th, 20th and 22nd to 23rd January 2010
Dead Man’s Hand, 29th to 30th May and 5th to 6th June 2009. See the review in the Archive.
The Cemetery Club, 24th to 25th October and 31st October to 1st November 2008
Hobson’s Choice, 30th to 31st May and 6th to 7th June 2008
A Murder Has Been Arranged, 25th to 26th May and 1st to 2nd June 2007. See the review in the Archive.
A Breath of Spring, 2nd to 3rd and 9th to 10th June 2006
Curtains, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th October 2005. See the review in the Archive.
The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy, 29th to 30th April and 6th to 7th May 2005
The Shakespeare Revue, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th January 2005
The Deep Blue Sea, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th October 2004. See the reviews in the Archive.
Comic Potential, 30th April, 1st, 7th and 8th May 2004. See the reviews in the Archive.
Take Away The Lady, 24th, 25th and 31st October and 1st November 2003.
Local Affairs, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th May 2003. See the review in the Archive.
Quartet, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th October 2002. See the review in the Archive.
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production Of Macbeth, 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th May 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Abigail's Party, 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th January 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Educating Rita, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th October 2001. See the review in the Archive.
Spring and Port Wine, 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th May 2001. See the review in the Archive.