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Box Theatre Company - The Game of Love and Chance

28th to 31st October 2009.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Complete package

The Box Theatre Company: The Game of Love and Chance, at New Greenham Arts, from Wednesday, October 28 to Saturday, October 31

The Box Theatre Company have built up a fine local reputation for producing innovative and quality theatre. Their work is always a little different, performing challenging plays and their current production of The Game of Love and Chance was no exception.

Written in 1730 by French playwright Marivaux, who was a contemporary of Molière, this comedy was a candid comment on love and social class. It mirrors to some extent Shakespeare's plot of Twelfth Night.

In Neil Bartlett's spirited translation, the play is transported to the 1930s, where two intended lovers swap places and identities with their servants, in order to discover more about their wealthy prospective partners, with some hilarious results. Directed with imagination and flair by Duncan Mack, the play is performed in the round, which worked exceedingly well in the Greenham auditorium and helped to keep the action bristling along with good pace.

Paul Isherwood was splendid as the stoic father, anxious to ensure a successful marriage for his daughter Sylvia - a feisty performance by Tracey Donnell - to the rich and noble Dorrant (Neal Murray).

John Harding created a deliciously exuberant 'camp' character, Maurice the son and brother, who became more outrageous as the plot twisted and turned revealing ever more complicated relationships.

There was much comic invention created by Lisette, the maid disguised as her upper-class mistress - a vibrant bubbly performance from Adelina Miller - who begins to fall in love with the other protagonist, Arlecchino (Simon Fenton, who obviously relished his role). The plot was certainly complicated, but drew the audience in as the story evolved.

Eventually, the cast managed to disentangle themselves from the web of ruses they had created. All six actors created thoughtful character insights in what was a delightful, charming and beguiling evening's entertainment from a talented company.