Review by Marilyn Barber
It was the talk of Wimborne with the buzz being ‘did you see this brilliant play at the Tivoli?’
By J B Priestley it tackled the smugness and hypocrisy of the Edwardian upper middle class in a comical way, telling the story of three couples, who gathered together to celebrate their weddings 25 years previously – who find they may not have been legally married after all!
The production had not been without its problems, with illness forcing one minor character to be dropped and Tracey Nicholls, the stage manager having to take on the part of servant Ruby at the 11th hour.
However, although Tracey had the script in her hand she barely needed it, putting in the sort of sterling performance we all expect from her – and like the rest of the cast – her strong Yorkshire accent was maintained throughout.
This was a very experienced cast – and it really showed – with many of the actors having graced the Tivoli stage on many occasions.
Dealing with their performances in order of appearance – because they were all so good – Rob Cording-Cook as organist Gerald was very laid back as the only southerner in the cast.
Chrissie Neal embodied the disgruntled servant Mrs Northrop with laconic humour, whilst Richard Scotson made the most of his smaller role at Fred the reporter.
Chris Durham had his work cut out to maintain the drunken photographer Henry but he maintained the persona throughout.
Gary Paine’s expressive face said it all as the bumptious Alderman Helliwell, teaming well with Beverley Beck as his wife Maria.
Tony Feltham always gets under the skin of his roles and is one of the best local character actors. He clearly enjoyed playing the all too wordy Cllr Parker, with his real wife Boo as the long-suffering Annie Parker.
Colin Pile encapsulated the seemingly meek Herbert, making a brilliant team with his imperious wife Clara – the sort of woman you certainly wouldn’t dare to cross – played with much skill by Tracie Billington-Beardsley.
And to add to the mix was Lottie as a lady who ‘knew’ all three husbands, a part in the capable hands of Michelle Barter with Simon Jackson sealing the story as Rev Clement Mercer.
Many congratulations to director Richard Neal and his team, with a special mention for set designer Chris Durham who made the audience feel as if they had gone back to the beginning of the 20th century.
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