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

Box Theatre Company - Dangerous Corner

8th to 11th November 2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Safely round the corner

Box Theatre, Dangerous Corner, at New Greenham Arts, from Wednesday, November 8 to Saturday, November 11

What if? This is the premise from which J B Priestley starts Dangerous Corner. Life is full of dangerous corners and it all depends on how well we drive. The Box Theatre Company certainly kept on the road and made some excellent manoeuvres, under the guidance of director Gavin Slaughter.

This play can clearly be seen as a forerunner to An Inspector Calls, where, as here, the behaviour, standards and morals of the characters are exposed and their relationships changed forever. This is Priestley's first play and he was clearly learning his craft as the continual shocking revelations can become almost comical if the pace is not kept up. As in farce, the audience should not be given the time to question, but should be kept on the edge of their seats as yet another secret is revealed.

Gathered together for a dinner party a group of friends find their comfortable life destroyed as a chance remark leads to the exposure of relationships, secrets and lies. Neal Murray gave a good performance as Robert Caplin, his insistence at continuing the revelations finally rebounding on him, and his final break down was very believable. Tracey Donnelley gave a powerful performance as his wife, Freda, though she didn't need to shout quite as much, her pain and sorrow were perfectly obvious from her facial expressions. Paul Isherwood seemed hesitant at times, and yet was physically very much at home on the delightful set.

Ed Roberts played Gordon with great sensitivity struggling with his sexuality and his inability to cope with his young wife, Betty delightfully played by Laura Hamblin who gave the best performance of the evening.

Adelina Miller gave a strong performance as Olwen Peel, but I believe both she and the director misinterpreted the role. Olwen is a reserved, controlled character, whereas Adelina seemed on the verge of hysteria almost from the first, so when it came to the important denouement in act two she had left herself nowhere to go. Jane Minchin played Miss Mockridge, the author, with an arch deliberation.

Overall, an enjoyable journey.