ACT in Action Issue 17

especially the pointed sarcasm from Emma. There was an ease in her portrayal of a friend, trying to help and offer sensible advice. It was nice to see Robert back on stage after some time away. His wronged fiancé character was delivered with confidence and one could not help but feel sorry for him all the way through as he fought to remain a part of Cecily’s life, even if that meant more as a friend. There was a warmth and vulnerability to him. As in most Christie offerings there are characters which appear just to cause confusion, when you think you have sorted everything out and you know how it is going to end, and this was just the same with the introduction of Hodgson, the gardener, played by John Westbrook. This character had me rethinking my own conclusion as there was a whiff of mystery about the man. I wondered if the bunches of flowers he kept bringing were dosed in poison at one point. I particularly enjoyed the local yokel accent that was used. Georgina Dalgliesh provided some of the comedy moments that broke the tension. Her portrayal of the maid, Ethel, was super and again had me wondering if there were something a little more sinister to her and if she and her gardener father were up to no good. If there is poison suspected in the plot then it would stand to reason that there would be a doctor who has access to it, such as Alex Clarke, the village Dr. Gribble, who wonderfully added to the plot’s confusion, but who was also vital to the unmasking of the would be murderer. The sets established the place for the action. In the first act Polina Sparks and Alan Reidsma and team had built the flat shared by Cecily and Mavis. It had just the right amount of furniture and props, which meant there was plenty of room for the cast to move around. In the second act this was transformed into the country cottage. All other people in the various backstage departments contributed to the success THE LION IN WINTER by James Goldman Director: David Ward assisted by Lottie Shepherd Players Theatre This play had me hooked and intrigued before the curtain had even opened. This is an epoch in history that has always captivated me, the battles and alliances that allies forged to get what they want. It would appear that I am not alone in this. I sat in the bar and I couldn’t help but overhear others at a close table discussing the lineage of the royal Plantagenet family in the 12th Century. The Lion in Winter is a 1966 play by James Goldman, depicting the

and enjoyment of the play. I totally agree with Garth, when he says in the programme, “This is a team effort.” Thank you for your hospitality as always.

personal and political conflicts of Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children, Richard, Geoffrey, John and their guests, Alais and Philip Capet during Christmas 1183. The conflict is over who is to inherit the throne once Henry dies. Henry favours their puny, compost-smelling youngest, John; Eleanor backs their more regal Richard. Meanwhile, their middle son, Geoffrey, schemes in the background. But the whole family is engaged in a game of human chess in which an empire is the prize. Henry’s mistress, Alais and her brother Philip, King of France, are also pawns in all this. The set, designed and built by Dave Ward, Lee McGregor and the construction team was not sumptuous by any stretch of the imagination, but it was very effective and had great functionality. The painted (I liked

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