By Tanya McPherson
LAST night (Thursday 6th February) was an evening full of entertainment, as I watched Thurrock Courts Players’s highly amusing interpretation of “Love Begins at 50”.
In this ‘romantic comedy of errors’, we witness a middle aged man going through a mid-life crisis. In a desperate appeal to rekindle his teenage life Clive yearns for one last final fling. As expected everything goes wrong and leaves the cast in some difficult situations.
This play needs a fast pace to be carried out to its full potential and Thurrock Courts Players attempted to do so. With the exception of a few cues not being picked up quite as quickly as intended the cast of Thurrock Courts Players pulled this play off with a few unintended laughs along the way.
In amongst all of the humour already scripted the costumes provided us with a few additional laughs. From the intentional trifle down the trousers to the (not so intentional) lead man costume malfunction of his braces coming undone and hitting Clive Debanks (Portrayed by Gary Parmore) on the head, the cast acted professionally through it all, despite the audiences amusement. But I must say the accidental costume malfunction did put the audience on the actors side through the rest of the show.
The photographer character of Henry Clarke portrayed brilliantly by Vic Gray has to have been the highlight of my evening. From the moment he walked onto the stage he immediately demanded the audiences attention in the most comical way. His character was consistent throughout the play and really deserves a well done.
The play was set in 1998 and the setting of which was chosen was a modest semi-detached house. The scenes centred around the living room but there was some off stage action set around the front door. Despite the actors good attempt to work with the furniture a lot of the acting was masked by a sofa which could have been moved back entitling the actors to more room. Also the scene changes could have been done in sight of the audience as the play varied over a variety of weeks and so had to be changed often.
The age difference between the older characters, Anita Debanks portrayed perfectly by Jill Snelling, and the younger characters, such as Anita’s young adult daughter stunningly portrayed by Anna-Lousie Catchpole, was defined by the appropriate costumes. For example the clever use of a cardigan made an otherwise formal outfit look more casual.
The character of Mavis Legget was acted out in a humorous yet slightly uncomfortable way. The actress who played her, Madeleine Emmerson, was precisely on point with her interpretation of this, slightly weird, character.
All in all it was a brilliant production that unfortunately had a lack of an audience on their opening night, never the less this cast of nine actors and one fish brought a smile to my face on an otherwise dreary, wet evening.