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Mortimer Dramatic Society - Lock Up Your Daughters

26th and 27th May and 2nd and 3rd June.

This is the review of Lock Up Your Daughters from the Newbury Weekly News.

They took it, shook it and made it happen

'LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS', performed by Mortimer Dramatic Society, on May 26 & 27 and June 2 & 3

If director Judy Winter ever regretted taking on the challenge of staging 'Lock Up Your Daughters' as part of the MDS Golden Jubilee celebrations, I hope the boundless enthusiasm of her cast and the reaction of the audience reassured her that every sleepless night was time well spent.

Based on a play written in 1730, with a musical make-over carried out in 1959, this production opened with a tableau worthy of Mr Hogarth himself. Virtue, politics, corruption and dissolution were all depicted on a highly imaginative and precision-lit set. Considering that our journey took us through streets to taverns, to courts of law and places of assignation, the clever use of levels and a unifying colour scheme placed us in exactly the right place at the right time.

Having the right actors in the right parts always helps. Getting them to sing and dance with confidence ensured that this was more than just a string of tunes held together with a bit of embarrassed shuffling. Graham Jerome and Brian Beale's witty interpretation of 'It Must Be True' (a song satirising the Press - heaven forbid!) set the standard that was passed from song to song, taking in Mandy Grimwade's brilliantly hard-edged and desperate Mrs Squeezurn singing 'When Does the Ravishing Begin' and closing act one with the rousing 'Lock Up Your Daughters'.

My only complaint is that act two flew by. Mrs Squeezum got squeezed (and more!) by Ramble (Christopher Boott), Mr Squeezurn (Ray Tomasi) got arrested, Hilarat (Catherine Bowman) was declared unravished and reunited with Captain Constant (Jon Ranwell), Sotmore (Tom Shorrock) had his faith in women restored and so the world was put to rights.

Oddly enough, some 270 years on, we are still struggling with the politics of rape, the actions of the press and the spectre of legal corruption, which probably part-way explains why this show is such a hit. The rest is due in large part to companies like MDS who take it, shake it and make it happen. Shock horror, there were some empty seats - so if you live in Mortimer and missed it, then shame on you.