National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region
Society : Aldermaston Players
Production : A Fete Worse than Death
Date : Friday 15th September 2017
Venue : Parish Hall - Aldermaston
Report by : Jeanette Maskell
I was delighted to be asked to review this friendly society’s latest offering. This was such a well written play witty fast moving with great characters and plenty of twists and turns. It had been well cast with each actor putting in a good performance. What a shame then that on the evening of my visit every member of the cast lost their lines at some point thereby slowing the action somewhat. However this did not detract from the overall performance and did not deter the audience from oooing and ahing at every revelation.
Nigel Wilson – (Malcolm Turner) – As chairman and subsequent victim this actor gave a super performance. His rich resonant speaking voice suited the character perfectly and his delivery diction and timing was spot on. His larger than life personality came over famously enhancing his characterisation fully. I so enjoyed his impassioned drooling over his prize marrow and his dismissive interaction with Bunny.
Helen Long – (Bunny) – This was a knockout performance; she had thought about her character and pitched it just right. She was delightfully animated and her dialogue was expressive and well intonated. However remember to anticipate audience reaction; at one point I completely missed what was said as the dialogue was spoken over laughter. She created some excellent relationships with the rest of the cast especially Nigel and Malcolm.
Darren Lock – (Nigel) – As the historical reenactor; this year a Viking, this young man had developed a well delineated character. His passion for his hobby and Bunny came over fantastically and his dialogue complemented this perfectly. At times he looked a little awkward but this only endeared him to the audience all the more.
Patricia Goodchild – (Trish) – This actress always captures the very essence of the character right down to the fine details. Her dialogue was superlatively dynamic and spirited. Her outburst in act 2 earned her a well-deserved round of applause. Her interaction was first rate and I liked the way she strode around the acting area attempting to take control of every situations.
Chris Faulkner – (Father Mike) – For me this actor had the best comic timing; his natural aptitude for comedy really shone. His one line interjections were impeccably delivered and made all the more amusing by his dead pan expression. He had a natural easy gait which he used to his advantage as he moved around the stage. He really was the most off the wall Vicar I have ever seen but so right for the character.
Cynthia Newman – (Miss Violet Parminter) – This actress gave a standout performance; she was natural warm funny and totally believable. It was a mammoth role and she carried it off brilliantly. Her energetic dialogue was expertly delivered; articulate and meaningful. She moved effortlessly and used striking hand gestures to great effect. Her slightly dotty persona was great fun and I loved the way she persisted in calling Ray Inspector Brady which really added to her characterisation.
Nigel Antell – (Ray Martin) – I really enjoyed this young man’s performance; he had the looks the swagger and an ego to match. He worked well with all the cast but I particularly liked the rapport between him and Miss Parminter. I was impressed with the way he was able to gradually change his character as the play progressed and Miss Parminter solved the murder making him think it was all him. His dialogue was expressive and animated as was his facial expressions. A truly memorable performance!
Kim Antell – (Director) – Kim had taken great care to ensure the cast understood the plot and their parts therein. She achieved a good pace throughout keeping the action and dialogue balanced; which in turn brought out the humour superbly. Staging on the whole had been well worked; though there were moments of upstaging and for my liking far too much swapping of positions. They moved around so often that they actually got in each other’s way; making it look rather messy. With a limited acting area it may have been better to have had more static positioning which would have worked just as well. However that aside this was a thoroughly entertaining piece which had been directed with energy spirit and vision.
Ange Boott/Chris Boott/Cynthia Newman – (Producers) – This trio obviously work well together sharing the workload to great effect. They had coordinated everything perfectly bringing together back stage, on stage and front of house ensuring the audience experience was most pleasurable.
Sandra Faulkner – (Stage Manager) – With a single static set this SM really did not have anything to do other than be there should anything go awry. However she made the most of her time prompting the cast who unfortunately needed her rather more than they would have liked.
Ange Boott - (Wardrobe) – Being set in the present this wardrobe mistress had free reign in selecting costumes that really suited the individual character. I particularly like Father Mike’s costume our Viking and those blood stained rubber gloves. However that said everyone looked great Miss Parminter with her little hat, Trish in her shorts and high viz and Ray smooth and trendy in his suit. Job done I’d say.
Louise Marshall – (Make-up) – Make-up was consistent well applied and appropriate for the modern setting.
Kim Antell/Chris Boott – (Set Design) – This was what it was. There is not a lot you can do when designing the interior of tent. However it created the right effect and had been well dressed with bunting and a couple of tables complete with checked table cloths.
Chris Boott/Chris Chapman/Sandra Faulkner/Adrian Thomas – (Set Construction) – The material used for the tent was perfect in colour weight and texture. The way it had been hung to represent the interior was cleverly depicted complete with entrance flap and seamed walls.
Chris Chapman/Douglas Faulkner – (Lighting) – Having such a light nondescript colour surrounding the stage; these technicians managed to create a warmth that enhanced the action and lit the actors splendidly.
The Cast – (Properties) – Well done cast! Every prop was perfect for its use from the jars of pickles to the digital camera. Who was responsible for making the marrows? They were absolutely excellent and so well painted that it gave them a totally realistic look.
Ange Boott/Karen Dignan/Cathy Jones/Gill Tomlins – (Front of House) – This is a front of house team that goes all out to make the audience feel welcome. It really is a pleasure to be greeted by them.
Jeanette Maskell - NODA Representative - London Region - Area 13