Destiny of Theatre
Jim Hutchon was at the Brentwood Theatre
In this lesser-known Priestley classic, director Jennifer McGregor chose to push the middle-class characters ‘in the publishing trade’ upmarket into an upper class 30s set à la Noel Coward. This was a successful transition, and added an exotic air to the production. The characterisation was uniformly solid and the pace modulated and well maintained.
The story is a simple one of peeling away layers of the truth to get at increasingly dangerous and uncomfortable deeper truths. Julia Curle is Freda Caplan, the hostess presiding over a dinner party and growing more nervous as the play proceeds. Andrew Lindfield is her urbane husband not content to let sleeping dogs lie, and his exchanges with Colin Reed as Gordon Whitehouse over his deceased brother are truly dramatic and memorable. Penelope Lambton is the quiet one in the background who actually presided over the death of the brother.
Most astonishing revelation of the night is Gordon’s airhead wife, played by Louisa-Marie Hunt, who, in a superb bravura performance, reveals her marriage as a sham. Presiding over the whole affair is the main culprit of the plot, Charles Stanton, played with a great deal of avuncular humour by Tom Reah, who only took on the role at the last minute and made it his own.
Destiny of Theatre is a recently formed professional group with the Brentwood Theatre as its spiritual home, and is to be congratulated for creating a play with very different characters for an excellent evening’s entertainment.