Mortimer Dramatic Society
The Mortimer Dramatic Society web site is at www.mortimer-dramatic.org.
Calendar Girls, 31st May to 1st June and 7th to 8th June
A play by Tim Firth.
St John's Hall, 22 West End Road, Mortimer Common, RG7 3TF.
Mrs Peggy Hood, 8 Glenapp Grange, West End Road, Mortimer Common, RG7 3TF. 0118 933 2583.
Review of Natural Causes
21st to 22nd and 28th to 29th October 2011
Review from Newbury Theatre.
Eric Chappell’s Natural Causes is a dark comedy about assisted suicide. Vincent is from Exodus, a group that provides people with the means to commit suicide, using a hemlock-like drug. Arriving at Walter Brice’s house, he assumes that Walter is the one who wants to end it all. Walter has other plans: it’s his wife Celia who is for the chop, so he can carry on his affair with his secretary Angie. With the arrival of Withers from the Samaritans, mistaken identities continue until the confusion eventually resolves itself.
James Burton Steward gave a strong performance as Vincent, always menacing, thoroughly unlikeable but with a touch of E.L. Wisty. As Walter, Tom Shorrock’s energy count was set to max all the way through. That works for a farce, but this more subtle comedy needed a less full-on approach.
Gilly Lee was a believably vampish Angie. Megan Bush played Celia, the will-she-won’t-she woman, who is actually a lot more scheming than we at first realise. Ian Beavon was delightful as Withers, showing the right mixture of earnestness and self-doubt.
The play was hampered by a lot of hesitancy with the words, and far too many prompts. I saw the final performance, and to have prompts by then suggests that more rehearsals are needed.
The set, designed by Lawrence Picking, was brilliant. Wall to wall books along the back, and generally very well presented. The pot plant got progressively sicker with each scene, and there was even a radiator with plumbing (not called for by the script).
Natural Causes is a well-constructed play with much humour, which MDS brought out well at times. There were some very funny moments, including Vincent’s first encounter with Withers, and Vincent’s grim depiction of the stoker from HMS Belfast, and despite some hiccups the cast worked well together.
Entertaining Angels, 19th to 20th October and 26th to 27th October 2012
Natural Causes, 21st to 22nd and 28th to 29th October 2011
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.