site search by freefind advanced

 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

New Era Players - The Red Hot Donahue Sisters Discover Droitwich

5th to 15th June 2002.

This is the Newbury Weekly News review.

New Era's trio of gems

NEW ERA PLAYERS: The Red Hot Donahue Sisters Discover Droitwich (three one act plays), from June 5-15

Well, why not try two attics and a sex shop? The New Era Players did just that and proved once again that their jewel box of a theatre is more than capable of providing a few gems of its own.

'The Donahue Sisters' (director, Kathleen Sharret) told the tale of three Irish women reunited over a cup of tea in the attic of their old family home. As their life stories unravelled the tea party became a vodka-fest with a little recreational drug abuse thrown in for good measure. Funny ha ha, you might think, (and laugh we did, at some fine comedic acting from the cast) but happiness turned easily to despair and sisterly devotion gave way to the spine-tingling re-enactment of the childhood murder that has bound them together and haunted their adult lives. Thoughtfully directed, well cast and well set, one-act tension twisters do not come much better than this.

'The Droitwich Discovery' (director, Jill Lynn) saw a group of earnest Shakespeare scholars having an attic experience of their own. Enter the ghostly presence of The Bard's brother, Terry! Cheated out of greatness by his plagiarising sibling, our Terry sets out to prove that he was always the better playwright of the two, aided by a cast of bewitched, bothered and bewildered students and their landlady tour guide. This demanded sudden changes of character, mood and pace and managed to get all three at once and still allow time for the audience to get many a laugh in edgewise.

'Red Hot In Amsterdam' (directors, James Winter and Anne Oldham) provided the sex-shop quotient of the evening with a tale of stolen diamonds, working girls and mistaken identity that never quite managed to capture the frenetic pace that a door-slamming, window-leaping farce requires to suspend belief and keep the froth frothing. But maybe Dutch accents were built for comfort and not for speed!

The trouble with reviewing three plays in the space normally allowed for one is that you can't name names! But at least you can say 'thank you' for another great night out.