New Era - The Philadelphia Story
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New Era - The Philadelphia Story

30th November to 2nd December and 5th to 9th December 2006.

Here is the NWN review.

New Era's fun in Philadelphia

Director Lisa Harrington keeps a grip of her large cast to deliver thee goods once again

New Era Players: The Philadelphia Story, at New Era Theatre Club, Wash Common, from Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 2 and Tuesday, December 5 to Saturday, December 9

In 1930s America it was good to be rich but, then as now, money can’t buy you love. Tracy Lord is rich, and about to embark on her second marriage to George. Her parents’ marriage is in difficulties, her ex-husband turns up, and she finds herself attracted to a journalist who has been invited to the house by her brother.

A complicated plot which involves some scene-setting, and the play got off to a slow start but soon got into its stride.

Jackie Chester was excellent as Tracy. Initially secure in her relationship with George and dismissive of journalist Mike, her beliefs are challenged when she finds Mike’s unexpected depths and realises she is still drawn to her ex, Dexter. This was a totally believable performance.

Stuart Hillman, as Mike, handled the transition from tough reporter to infatuated admirer very well. He was slightly over the top as a drunk, but the kiss with Tracy was electrifying and the sexual tension was palpable.

Stephen Bennett played the upper class Dexter with panache; smooth, smiling and confident. Despite the disappointments of his first marriage (with the implication, even, that it wasn’t consummated) he got the girl in the end, although if I’d been Tracy I’d have gone for Mike when the offer was there.

As fiancé George, Ed Begley was suitably solid, worthy and, in comparison with her other suitors, boring. Pam Hillier-Brook and Tim Oldham were the parents, smugly upper-middle-class Americans.

Peter Hendrickx was splendid as flirtatious Uncle Willy, and Nicola Sowden was good as Liz, Mike’s colleague and unfortunate fiancée. Charlotte Wyatt played the younger daughter Dinah (alternating with Kirsten Williams on other nights). With her wide-eyed not-so-innocence, she looked very promising. Neil Dewdney played brother Sandy and Kate Honeybill was the maid Elsie.

The costumes were varied and sumptuous, although George’s suit looked very shabby – was that deliberate?

Director Lisa Harrington kept a firm grip on her large cast, the pace was good except at the very start and the accents were good. This was great fun, and New Era have again shown that, whether the cast is small or large, they can deliver the goods.

PAUL SHAVE