Aldermaston Players

2011 One Act Plays – NODA Review

Society           ;           Aldermaston Players
Production     ;           ‘ART’ and ‘MAN’S VIEW’
Date                ;           Friday 4th November 2011
Venue             ;           Aldermaston Parish Hall
Report by       ;           Henry Hawes – NODA Representative – Area 13
On Friday 4th November 2011, I was pleased to be invited to review Aldermaston Players inaugural production since joining the ranks of NODA and I look forward to a long and beneficial relationship. I understand from the programme that this is a first, in that in the past you have presented dinner / theatre evenings and this is the first time you have presented just plays, all presented in a quaint and atmospheric Parish Hall equiped with a balcony which must be an ideal venue for ‘Old Time Music Hall’. For this first presentation, the Aldermaston Players had selected two One Act Plays. each with a totally different format.
‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza
This play by Yasmina Reza had been translated from the French and explored very well the relationship between three men friends and the ensuing animosity over the purchase of an abstract modern painting which consisted of ‘white lines on a whire canvas’! This play was presented in a stark modern setting which fitted well to the action on stage. The set had been suitably dressed allowing sufficient room for the actors to perform without looking congested. The play had a good pace throughout with well picked up cues apart from a couple of prompts. The direction of the play was good but I felt that it would have benefitted from some judicious pruning i.e. five minutes or so, as towards the end the action was becoming repititious, not the fault of the cast, but the authors. Did it suffer in the translation?
Christopher Boott – (MARC) – Chris brought all his experience to this characterisation of ‘Marc’. His relationship with ‘Serge’ was well seen and his derision at the purchase of an abstract painting in shades of white and costing a large amount of money was well portrayed. He displayed a good range of emotions from annoyance to exasperation all coupled with good diction – Well done.
Glynn Oram – (SERGE) – As the purchaser of the notorious painting, Glynn gave a good impression of justifying his actions in regard to his purchase. His explanation as to the merits of the painting was well put over to his eventual strong disagreement with ‘Marc’ – A well crafted characterisation
Geoff Dalimore – (YVAN) – As the third member of this triumvirate, Geoff played the role of ‘Yvan’ very well entering during the confrontation between his two friends over the abstract painting. His arrival helped to lighten the atmosphere and inject a certain amount of humour into the proceedings – Well done.
‘Man’s View’ by Derek Webb
This one act play made a good contrast with the first one consisting of three ladies. Although it had similar overtones, namely three people being involved in discussions, this one was slightly different in that a male character apppears at the end. The plot revolves around three ladies who have met up after some time, resulting in them letting their hair down and imbibing a quantity of alcohol. The play opened with them returning to ‘Carol’s flat, where they continue in a similar vein which leads to the revelation of some of their innermost secrets which leads to certain controversies betwen them. This play had been well staged within an authentic looking set.
Zoe Wilgar                – (CAROL)
Catherine Hannan – (JUDY)
Rebecca Passey    – (ANN) – I have combined these three ladies together as each gave an excellent potrayal of their individual characters to the extent there was nothing I could find fault with in their interpretation. Each presented different stages of inebriation without going too far ‘over the top’ as so often happens. The interplay betwen them was well controlled leading to revealing their innermost secrets. Movement, body language was all well presented but just one small point, you did lack projection on your voices so that it was difficult to hear all the words at the back of the Hall. Outside of that small point – Well done on your presentation.
Graham Jerome – (DAVE) – It was good to see Graham back on stage in the minor role of ‘Dave,, making an appearance at the very end which had the necessary impact.
Graham Jerome      – (DIRECTOR)
Shelley Worboys    – (ASSISTANT DIRECTOR)
Chris Boott              – (PRODUCER) – This trio obviously work well together and which showed with the presentation on stage. May I start by congratulating you on presenting two one act plays, something which is seldom seen these days. I think this was a good selection of plays which gave a good contrast, but at the same time, had a similar undercurrent. Both had been well presented within the small confines of the stage with a good contrast betweern the two sets which obviously required some thought being performed within a standard box set but the inspired set dressing achieved the necessary impact between the two plays. All performers appeared well reharsed in their various roles – Well done on your involvement in drama presentations.
Stage Manager – This appeared a well managed stage on the night of my visit with no visible hitches. On the night of my visit the ‘Curtain’ was nearly ten minutes late in going up on the advertised time, try to avoid this as it can cause restlessness among the audience. If it is unavoidable then a short explanation given to the audience helps.
Set Design and Construction – The set design for both plays worked well within the confines of the stage. Although it consisted of a basic box set it appeared totally different in each play by clever dressing etc: Construction looked solid and well built – Well done.
Sound and Lighting – I would imagine that this Hall is very good acoustically and the need for extra amplification is minimal, if at all. The first play was good sound wise, due to a large extent the performers being able to project their voices and this was where the second play fell down as the performers did not project their voices properly so that a lot of the dialogue was lost at the back of the Hall. As far as the lighting plot was concerned, overall this had been well designed apart from the shadows on the set in the first play which seemed to disappear in the second play. Cues on the night of my visit appear to have been well picked up.
Wardrobe and Props – The Wardrobe Department had ensured that both casts were dressed in the appropriate costumes for their particular characters. All props looked authentic and fitted the action of both plays.
Hair and Make-up – Attention had been paid to both the hair styles and the make-up which stood up well under the stage lights.
Programme – A neat programme of the right size which contained all the necessary information, together with good cast photographs and with interesting biographies.
Front of House – Front of House staff were well on hand to greet their audience. They were easily identifiable, friendly and helpful.
Thank you for your invitation to review your latest production. It is so good in this day and age to see one act plays which are seldom performed in theatres outside of festivals. May I wish you all success with future shows.
NODA Representative – London Region – Area 13