Director John White looked nervous but focussed as he sat in the foyer before the performance. John runs a tight ship . He doesn’t like his actors milling around before the show, preferring them back stage and in the zone.
The cast were certainly in the zone on the opening night of the three night run. From the moment the curtain went up, the cast producing a sparkling play that was one half Royle Family and one half Juno and The Paycock.
This was a true ensemble piece where each member of the cast had a significant part to play. That is not a cop out in failing to praise any one particular person, it was just a delight to see a cast working so well together.
Having said that, Nan, played by Carole Holland brought a special spark to the role and was unerringly like Catherine Tate’s Nan. On this occasion she did forget her lines on a few occasions and you did worry that if she does that again it could ruin the whole ensemble piece.
An intriguing actress was Lisa Chapman playing the Mother. It was a fine performance full of nuance and feeling but it left you curious to know what she would be like in a serious role. Perhaps the Players may put on a challenging piece later in the year.
Luke Coldham breezed through his role displaying a fine comedy touch especially considering he was brought in at late notice. Juxtaposed with all his other abilities, Luke has a huge array of skills and has a number of fine interplays with Megan played by Torie Grayling who is also consistently excellent.
Mike Jones also has wonderful comic timing as the workshy Lloyd. He could easily have grandstanded with his part but realised the importance of the ensemble.
Special mention goes to Dave Carey whose Kelvin was a wonderful composite of every wide-boy portayed on and off stage.
The last fifteen minutes dragged somewhat and some of the plot lines are not clear. The Players will be submitting this for the Thurrock Drama Festival and may want to review that.