Be inspired by amateur theatre
Society : Aldermaston Players
Production : Diplomatic Relations
Date : Friday 23rd February 2018
Venue : Parish Hall – AldermastonReport by : Jeanette Maskell
I was delighted to be invited to this supper performance of Diplomatic Relations. The hall was filled to capacity and the first course of roast pork gratin of potatoes and savoy cabbage was served prior to the start; with apple tart cheese with biscuits and coffee served during the interval. I have to say this was a most yummy meal and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
There is nothing better after a long day at work than to enjoy a good laugh raising the spirit and making one feel good. This farce delivered on all levels. The script was well written and outrageously funny. It had been extremely well cast with each actor giving an excellent performance.
Nigel Antell – (Hamish Carruthers) – As husband to the diplomatic ambassador and self-acclaimed procurement officer this young man was great. He has superb comic timing and the most delightful animated facial expressions. His dialogue was energetic with excellent dynamics. His first encounter with Lisa was very reminiscent of René and Michelle from ‘Allo ‘Allo! He developed some great relationships with everyone on stage and created a lovable roguish persona. I would have liked him to have dialled the phone rather than pushing buttons that weren’t there. However; this is a minor criticism and easily forgiven.
Cynthia Newman – (Dorothy Huxtable) – This was a cleverly understated performance! Her dialogue was natural easy and at times quite excitable. Her attraction to Protheroe was opaquely apparent and her exasperation with Hamish and Col Fegundez came over famously.
Kim Antell – (Miranda Carruthers) – This young lady absolutely hit the mark with her portrayal of the diplomatic ambassador. Her dialogue was suitably well rounded with a crisp clear dialect befitting the character. Her passion for retail therapy was well defined and the fashion show whilst deciding what to wear for the anniversary celebrations was fab! I really enjoyed her scenes with Col Fegundez where she always got the upper hand and her sufferance of Hamish was accompanied by heavy sighing and rolling of the eyes.
Chris Faulkner – (Dennis Protheroe) – What an absolute bonkers character this was! I loved the way he kept apprehending intruders covering them in a sack and marching them struggling into the office. His character was deliciously inept and his dialogue slick animated and grossly over the top but absolutely perfect for the role. He moved effortlessly with a slight stoop and rounded shoulders all of which added to the humour. There was a good use of flailing arms and hand gestures and fantastically intense staring eyes.
Darren Lock – (Henry Bourne) – This young man has progressed wonderfully. His character as the gap year student was quite stereotypical but played to perfection. He was animatedly jovial and his dialogue had an easy quality which enhanced the timbre of his voice. I really enjoyed the scene where left alone in the office he sat himself with feet on the desk and made a phone call. It was just a shame that the union flag on the edge of the desk hid his face from view.
Tricia Goodchild – (Lisa Guinsor) – As the corrupt politician this actress was completely outrageous. Her dialogue was sublime complete with a believable accent which never faltered. Movement and demeanour was powerful yet saucy and the whole culminated in superlative performance. Her interaction with Hamish was egregious and highly amusing.
Nigel Wilson – (Col. Manuel Fegundez) – This was a super portrayal of the security chief. He had excellent well accented dialogue which was delivered with plenty of light and shade. His demeanour was perfect for the role and I particularly liked the way he moved effortlessly round the stage making sure his bugs were still in place.
Paula Stenson – (Wilhelmina (Willi) Prinz) – As the German anarchist this young lady gave a fantastic performance. Her accent was excellent and well maintained throughout. Her character was great fun as she stealthy entered the office dressed as a maintenance engineer stealing a briefcase files and messing with the electrics. Her dialogue was droll and entertaining delivered absolutely deadpan which increased the humour immensely.
Karen Dignan – (Kimberley Trent) – This actress gave a cheekily simpering portrayal of Hamish’s ex-paramour. Her dialogue took on an almost whining tone as she wheedled her way round Hamish. I was pleased to see her whole persona change becoming fresh and sassy when pretending to be Henry’s fiancé.
Lesley Vought – (Antonia Hadley) – I so enjoyed this young lady’s performance! It was bright lively and vivacious. Her dialogue was energetic and bubbly and rambled along at a rate of knots but always clear and precise. Movement and deportment were sublime and I loved the way she took everything in scribbling away in her notebook. She had a contagious nervous laugh which added to her overall simple honest character.
Chris Boott – (Director/Producer) – This director took on this farce and came up trumps! He had done a fantastic job with his cast giving them superb direction with characterisations dialogue delivery and timing. The whole performance had great pace and entrances were skilfully and sagaciously contrived ensuring the continuous action never stuttered. There were one or two instances of masking and upstaging however I think this was due to the large cast and limited acting area. This is one performance Chris should be extremely proud of!
Ange Boott/Cynthia Newman – (Co-Producers) – This pair clearly worked well together and with the director to bring everything together famously! From setting up the hall to ensuring the technicians actors and back stage team all worked toward the one aim of giving the audience an enjoyable experience.
Sandra Faulkner – (Stage Manager) – Although this was not a busy stage it was expertly run by this SM. She ensured the smooth running of the scenes which kept the action moving. The all-important closing of the curtain to denote the end of a scene was perfect.
Chris Chapman/Douglas Faulkner – (Lighting) – This was a good plot and well executed by these technicians. The flashing lights were well timed and general lighting was bright creating the illusion of heat synonymous of a hot country.
Ange Boott – (Wardrobe) – assisted by Clare Bruton I liked all the costumes which had been chosen to suit the actor’s characters; but especially Lisa’s extremely short skirt and colourful top and Kimberley’s satin underwear (how brave was she to spend half the play in nothing but that?). Fergundez uniform was super Hamish’s cotton suit so right for the climate and Willi’s boiler suit hat and tool belt absolutely spot on.
Louise Marshall – (Make-up/Wigs) – What fun this young lady must have had in giving Lisa and Fegundez the “strictly” tanning! It was just right and consistent on both actors. Lisa’s wig was great and complemented the skin colouring perfectly. Kimberley’s wig was also ideal for her pale skin and her makeup enhanced the overall look. Other makeup had been well applied and was uniform in all areas.
Chris Chapman/Douglas Faulkner/Sandra Faulkner/Bill Macdonald/Adrian Thomas – (Set Construction) – This simplistic static set had been well constructed with the all-important practical doors so necessary for a farce. The stage was well dressed looking very much the diplomatic office. Was this team also responsible for props? If so they were all appropriate for their usage. I liked the shopping bags the broken balustrade the items that dressed the desk and the champagne bottles.
Cathy Jones/Val Hall/Angela Shirt/Kerry Thomas/Gill Tomins – (Front of House) – This team led by Cathy were superb. They made a point of going round the tables and chatting easily with members of the audience. Cathy always makes a little speech at the start of the evening informing the audience of how the evening would proceed and giving notices on what to do in the event of a fire and which loo you would be able to use during the performance. All this is delivered with a beaming smile and excellent projection.
Jean Chapman & Team – (Catering) – Congratulations to this team they worked wonders to serve a first rate meal to such a large audience. They were efficient in their service and in the clearing of the tables. They were friendly and cheerful and added immensely to the overall enjoyment of the evening.
Jeanette Maskell – NODA Representative – London Region – Area 13