Bampton's Graves

Chorus of Disapproval

Riverside Hall 15-17th October2015

A review of the play from NODA is given at the bottom of this page.

 

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Bampton Players
A CHORUS OF DISAPPROVAL.        
Director: Avril Saxby
As seen by: Janet Elworthy on 15th October 2015.
Riverside Hall.     
This society is certainly up for a challenge, staging this complicated but well scripted Alan Ayckbourn play. Guy Jones, a northern widower joins an amateur society rehearsing The Beggars Opera, his inability to say no, constantly leads him into intricate comical and some not quite so comical situations, involving frustrated wives and land development, as it does!!
I’m sure I will be forgiven for saying, Bamptons ‘Guy’, while not quite able to match the considerable charms of Nigel Harmen, who played in the London production, was able to replicate bemused and unassuming beautifully. Whether intentional or not, the director chose to keep the bumbling character trait consistent, rather than show an expected increasing confidence as the transgression from back row of the chorus to leading man and his bewildering attraction in the eyes of others manifested itself. Despite not being as the writer’s probable intentions for the part, it worked to a point, when taking into consideration the comical aspect of the character as cast in this production.
The obnoxious welsh director; Dafydd ap Llewellyn was appropriately loud and annoying, maintaining a convincing accent to the point of wondering if it was his natural tongue!
It was interesting to note that while this production started on a slow burn, with cast in general, unable to fully display the desired depth of character. As the play progressed, one to one dialogue, particularly from Hannah and Faye, Guy’s love interests, hinted at the potential skills of cast. Minor characters were also able to make their presence count, with encouraging performances from Mr Ames, who as pianist to the group, ‘reacted’ with convincing, comical regularity. Bridget Baines, stage manager, turned out to be an incarnation of the ‘crusty’ s/m’s we have all had the ‘pleasure’ of working with in the past!  As Linda, the wronged girlfriend, Abigail Hackwood brought a sparky energy to the play, clearly heard, she held the stage. Obviously a young actress, who, with the right encouragement to improve, would enjoy a successful future on the stage.
As cast smoothly dipped in and out of rehearsals for ‘Beggars Opera’, the audience were treated to some of the best staging in the production. The visual contrast was believable with a good choice of costume and disciplined movement. As a drama group, strong vocal ability was never going to be their forte but credit must be given for the enthusiasm and hard work so obviously put into these scenes.
Sticking to a simple set with the use of props to denote scene changes was an excellent decision, along with adept lighting, this worked exceedingly well. It’s a few, very lucky, small societies who can cast a play, enabling characters to be represented as fully intended by the writer. Safe to say, this small society compensated adequately, allowing full audience enjoyment and entertainment.


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