Mortimer Dramatic Society
Gaslight, 1st to 2nd June and 8th to 9th June
By Patrick Hamilton. First performed in 1938 the play takes us back to the fog-bound London of the 1880’s. Set in the upper middle class home of Jack Manningham and his wife Bella the action begins in the late afternoon; a time which the author notes as being "before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea". Bella is perturbed by the strange and inexplicable goings on in the house. Her husband’s unexplained and mysterious disappearances only add to her anxiety, which is made worse when he refuses to tell he where he is going. As the drama unfolds it becomes clear that Manningham is intent on convincing Bella that she is going insane, even to the point of making her believe that she is imagining the frequent dimming of the gaslight in the house. Bella is put under further pressure with the appearance of a police detective who claims that it is her husband who is responsible for her torment and who has a secret and sinister motive for his actions.
This gripping drama had an initial successful six month sell-out run in the West End’s Apollo Theatre before transferring to Broadway (where it was re-titled “Angel Street”). Angel Street was also a hit in its Broadway premiere, and it remains one of the longest-running non-musicals in Broadway history, with 1,295 total performances and has gone on to be revived both in West End and on Broadway. The play was adapted for film twice: the 1940 British film Gaslight, directed by Thorold Dickinson and the 1944 American film of the same name, directed by George Cukor. When the British film version was released in America, it was again re-titled Angel Street, to avoid confusion with the American film.
St John's Hall, 22 West End Road, Mortimer Common, RG7 3TF.
Book online via the website or call Tom on 0778 533 3321 or Terri Chopping on 0118 966 2206.
Review of Keeping Down With the Joneses
20th to 21st October and 27th to 28th October 2017
Review from Newbury Theatre.
John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd’s comedy is set in 1985 during the Cold War. MP Geoffrey Jones has constructed a bunker beneath his back garden and is planning a 3-week trial of it with his wife Deirdre, their baby, his mother-in-law Mrs Wayneflete and the au pair Grindle. At the back of John Bull’s impressive set is a huge lever with a big red knob on the end, and we just know that someone’s going to pull it. When the inevitable happens, the bunker is locked down with the family plus the milkman and a telephone installer, and they can’t open it. In Act 2, their neighbours appear from an adjacent bunker and it all gets a bit crowded.
Darren Reed was impressively good as Geoffrey – totally believable as an incompetent MP with an eye for the ladies. Karen Dignan was his wife and sparring partner Deirdre, showing a softer side to the hunky telephone man Joe – a strong performance from Sam Foad, who was perfect for the part. Paula Stenson as Mrs W sailed through, oblivious of what was happening (and looking good for her age). Kim Antell was good as Grindle, with an accent reminiscent of Henning Wehn. James Burton Stewart was the likeable milkman, with a good Irish accent that sometimes got in the way of the words.
In Act 2 we meet the Blakes from next door: Roger Holmes as the sleazy magazine publisher and Kerry Thomas, very good as the accommodating nudie model. Nick Pounder had a very nice cameo role as the PC.
The play itself was a bit slow at times; Act 2 was much better than Act 1, with lots of very funny lines. Director Tom Shorrock made full use of the ingenious 3-location set. My only criticism is that the cast needed to pick up more on their cues, to keep the pace going.
A rather silly play with some very funny lines and some accomplished performances from the Mortimer cast.
The Flint Street Nativity, 19th to 20th January and 26th to 27th January 2018
Keeping Down With the Joneses, 20th to 21st October and 27th to 28th October 2017
Night Must Fall, 26th to 27th May and 2nd to 3rd June 2017. See the review in the archive.
Up Pompeii, 20th to 21st January and 27th to 28th January 2017
The Small Hours, 21st to 22nd October and 28th to 29th October 2016. See the review in the archive.
Death By Design, 27th to 28th May and 3rd to 4th June 2016
'Allo 'Allo, 22nd to 30th January 2016
Beyond a Joke, 23rd to 24th October and 30th to 31st October 2015. See the review in the archive.
Kindertransport, 29th to 30th May and 5th to 6th June 2015
Deathtrap, 17th to 18th October and 24th to 25th October 2014. See the review in the archive.
Third Week in August, 30th to 31st May and 6th to 7th June 2014. See the review in the archive.
Murder Mystery Dinner Evening, 17th to 18th January and 24th to 25th January 2014
Kindly Keep It Covered, 18th to 26th October 2013. See the review in the archive.
Calendar Girls, 31st May to 1st June and 7th to 8th June 2013
Entertaining Angels, 19th to 20th October and 26th to 27th October 2012
Natural Causes, 21st to 22nd and 28th to 29th October 2011.
See the review in the Archive.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, 27th to 28th May and 3rd to 4th June 2011
The Amorous Ambassador, 22nd to 23rd and 29th to 30th October 2010. See the review in the Archive.
The Day After The Fair, 28th to 29th May and 4th to 5th June 2010
Another Opening, Another Show, 15th to 16th, 20th and 22nd to 23rd January 2010
Dead Man’s Hand, 29th to 30th May and 5th to 6th June 2009. See the review in the Archive.
The Cemetery Club, 24th to 25th October and 31st October to 1st November 2008
Hobson’s Choice, 30th to 31st May and 6th to 7th June 2008
A Murder Has Been Arranged, 25th to 26th May and 1st to 2nd June 2007. See the review in the Archive.
A Breath of Spring, 2nd to 3rd and 9th to 10th June 2006
Curtains, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th October 2005. See the review in the Archive.
The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy, 29th to 30th April and 6th to 7th May 2005
The Shakespeare Revue, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th January 2005
The Deep Blue Sea, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th October 2004. See the reviews in the Archive.
Comic Potential, 30th April, 1st, 7th and 8th May 2004. See the reviews in the Archive.
Take Away The Lady, 24th, 25th and 31st October and 1st November 2003.
Local Affairs, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th May 2003. See the review in the Archive.
Quartet, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th October 2002. See the review in the Archive.
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production Of Macbeth, 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th May 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Abigail's Party, 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th January 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Educating Rita, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th October 2001. See the review in the Archive.
Spring and Port Wine, 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th May 2001. See the review in the Archive.