Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Ian Dickens Productions at the Civic


Daphne Du Maurier's dark little story sits uneasily on the stage. This adaptation, by Nell Leyshon, has seventeen scenes, which means that mood, atmosphere and suspense are regularly broken by Stage Management trucking on beds, bars and altars.

Some of the most successful moments were the lighter ones, with nice character comic relief from John Banks in the restaurant, and a survivor from the old Newpalm days, Gary Taylor as a grizzled, dyspeptic Chief of Police.

Nicola Bryant did a good job with Laura, haunted, fragile and vulnerable. She got little support from Peter Amory as her sceptical husband – his theatrical CV is pretty much limited to this company, and his feelings, if any, rarely crossed the footlights. His Italian sounded good though – note to programme editors: Torcello, not Torchello; note to weird sisters: siamo, not siami.

The other big name was Shirley Ann Field, a strong presence as the sighted sister; her blind twin was an excellent Claire Vousden.

1 comment:

Michael Gray said...

this is what one dissatisfied audience member wrote to the paper in response:

"I read with interest the review by Denise Rigby of the above production, but I can only assume that she went to see a different production from me.
The storyline is as described, but the rest of the article bears no resemblance to the play.
The set was simple and in no way reflected Venice, the acting was wooden, the love scene was pathetic, and that's being kind.
The two sisters looked as if they were rehearsing for a sand dance.
The whole performance lacked credibility and was a waste of, one assumes, good acting skills.
Some people left at the interval, but we stayed in the vain hope that it might get better - alas it didn't.
The actor who played the barman was the best bit and made an unmemorable production into a bearable one.
Could I suggest that if you are going to print reviews, they should reflect the true quality of the production and offer praise where praise is due and harsh comment as well.

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