site search by freefind advanced

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

Kintbury Players - A Load of Old Bowls

15th to 17th July 2004.

This review was from the Newbury Weekly News.

Good shot

Kintbury Players: A Load of Old Bowls, at the Coronation Hall, Kintbury, from Thursday, July 15, to Saturday, July 17

An upraised hand clasping a bowl came through the curtain to start the evening. It was a gesture of triumph which could be taken not only to do with the subject of the play - a desire to win the country triples competition - but as a signal that this play, delayed for a week by illness, was finally in full production.

The Kintbury Players have a good reputation. It is well deserved and enhanced by this their latest performance. Written by cast member, Graeme Coulam, it follows the efforts of Doreen (Jenny Veasey), Maureen (Jill Scrivener) and her daughter Pauline (Roushka Munt) as they prepare for the great match. Completing the cast were Super Bowls Bitch, Emma Hill (Carol Morley making a successful acting debut), the man with the wonderfully expressive grunt, Tony Hillitt as Maureen's husband Bill and the director and author himself Graeme Coulam as Carol's husband Derek, Pauline's employer.

As the programme says, life isn't all bowls and each character has problems which untangle as the play progresses. It's a dolly of a play for set builders requiring only a bowls scoreboard and a few chairs. In these surroundings all the cast did well and some were superb.

Roushka Munt, whom I am happy to see intends to study the performing arts, was outstanding as the extrovert Pauline, never over the top, always acting, acting, acting. Good luck Roushka!

Graeme Coulam was completely believable as stressed boss and harassed husband and the dialogue between himself and ghastly employee Pauline zipped the action along. This was not always so in the mass of dialogue between Maureen and Doreen, both of whom gave good performances. Even appreciating that there were pauses for effect, occasionally a touch too much deliberation from Doreen slowed things down. Pruning the script very slightly would have helped.

Nevertheless, there was much that was hilarious and Graeme Coulam achieved an excellent contrast with characters and situations in a plot which interjected humour with poignancy and made for a satisfying and entertaining evening.