ACT in Action Issue 17

Farndale Christmas Carol - was assured and gave a strong performance. The first regular to arrive is Josie – a loud mouthed, sex mad, unemployed skint woman of a certain age who has terrible taste in men, an ex-husband sent to jail, a son who has spent time in borstal and an abusive German boyfriend. When Susan Ellison walked on in this role, the stage lit up – her costumes were superb (I haven’t seen fully sequined hot pants for many a year) and her handling of some very raunchy material was very funny. As her character develops, she blossoms in confidence, even if at the end her wishes are unchanged – “I pray for courage – and a good sex life!” Amazingly this was Susan’s first stage performance and she did herself proud in every way. In the role of Mrs Meadows and her daughter, Dawn, we had a great double act played by Claire Conboy and Susan Hartley. Claire’s costume, with heavy textured coat, was reminiscent of grannies of yesteryear and she did well to portray an often, unsympathetic character. Susan Hartley’s portrayal of Dawn, a grown woman with continued educational challenges, and a shady background involving the police and possible abuse, was a beautiful performance, ranging from her long vacant stares, her rebellious moments (which reminded me of Harry Enfield’s, Kevin, the Teenager), and a wonderful skipping scene, to her final rebellion resplendent in scarlet lacy bra and panties! She was another stage newcomer – but again, she shows much promise for the future! The role of the odd one out, Nancy, was played with great confidence as always by CDS regular, Vivienne Thornber. Seemingly ‘the lucky one’, Nancy slowly reveals she is just as unhappy as the rest. Married to a barrister, after 22 years of formal dinners, magnolias round the windows, and Laura Ashley frocks, her husband has left her! Although initially lost, by the end of the tale she has a plan – “I’m looking for a man. I want to have some sex!” As always Vivienne gave a terrific performance in one of the ‘lower key’ roles of the play. The final member of the sextet, Jane, made a notable entrance in her ‘hippy’ free-living colourful outfits – she was truly fab’n’groovy and has really lived the free life that others may dream of. But again, not all was as it seemed. “There is something demoralising about being a

STEAMING by Nell Dunn Designed & Directed by John Mills Colne Dramatic Society

For those who remember, the 1970s was a time of upheaval and change, of politics and protest, as well as the decade that fashion (supposedly) forgot. From that chaos came many new cutting-edge writers and plays – and Colne Dramatic Society’s latest offering, “Steaming” by Nell Dunn, is one of those works. “Steaming” is a study of the lives and relationships of a group of six very disparate ladies who come together once a week at a local Turkish Bath. Here they share their dreams and disappointments while lounging in their favourite Council-run plunge pools, spas, showers and personal treatment rooms. But their comfort and security are shattered when it is announced that the Baths are to be closed in six weeks’ time – news which calls the group to arms and changes each and every one of them forever. This production successfully brought to the Little Theatre stage not only the flavour of the 1970s but a stunning set giving us all the faded grandeur of a Victorian Bathhouse. A projection of such a building on the stage screen set the tone beautifully and to one side, some clever lighting gave a reflection of water on the wall, coming from the ‘plunge pool’ on the stage apron. And when the screen went up, the set did not disappoint. On a tiny 15-foot wide space Director/Designer, John Mills had created a stunningly accurate period treatment room, complete with six entrances, a staircase, stained glass window and ornate Eastern cut door frames. Indeed, overall, the technical side of the production was outstanding, most especially in the set, and also the costumes and some very subtle lighting changes. We firstly meet Violet, Manager of the spa for 18 years. In this difficult linchpin role, Marilyn McGinty - last seen at CDS in the

- 25 -

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online