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Croft Hall - Shot Actress - Full Story!

17th September 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Tribute to a great short story writer

Shot Actress - Full Story! and The Great Opportunity, at Croft Hall, Hungerford, on Saturday, September 17

To mark H.E. Bates' centenary, actor Graham Padden has dramatised and is presenting a one-man show of two pieces. Last week he performed it to a rapt audience at The Croft Hall, Hungerford.

The first half, The Great Opportunity, was based on an illustrated talk in Rushden, following the publication of his autobiography The Vanished World - the time 1969.

It was an anecdotal piece, with images from the book projected on to a screen and vivid recollections of his first love, poetry, and early life and humorous tales.

Graham Padden's fluid delivery immediately engaged the audience and it was a fascinating insight into the life of H.E. Bates - surely one of our best short story writers, although probably best known for The Darling Buds Of May, Fair Stood The Wind For France and Love For Lydia.

The second half, Shot Actress - Full Story!, was a poignant tale of a man whose life is turned upside down after he finds his neighbour shot dead in her bathroom.

'Beautiful red-haired actress recluse dead in bathroom', scream the headlines in the newspapers.

Sprake, a jeweller, was hounded by the press and in the town of Claypole, rumour gossip and innuendo flourished, with devastating consequences.

In this, Graham Padden was compelling in his characterisation, with lots of skilful 'business' and immaculate timing.

He held the small but highly appreciative audience's attention completely.

It was a first-class example of single-handed acting, backed by effective sound effects and provided a quality evening's entertainment.