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Boundary Players - Summer End

14th to 18th May 2013.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Twists and turns like a good 'un

Boundary Players: Summer End, at the William Penney Theatre, Aldermaston, from Tuesday, May 14 to Saturday, May 18

Boundary Players chose Summer End, by Eric Chappell, for the last production of their current season.

Set in a residential home, the action focuses on two residents, Emily and May, who find themselves sharing a room. Emily, an engagingly down to earth character with a failing memory, is convinced that her previous room-mate Bella was murdered for her money by care worker Sally and fellow resident Vernon, and May sets out to help her find the truth. But things are not quite what they seem; Emily is less incapacitated than she makes out and has a liking for other people's jewellery, while May has developed a surprisingly close relationship with the home manager Mrs Lang. So what really happened to Bella and who is deceiving who?

Under the direction of Claire Humphreys, Summer End offered all the twists and turns of a good whodunit and some entertaining characters. Marguerite Luxford as Emily clearly relished the part, capturing her accent, mannerisms and physical characteristics with skill. Sue Barham, as the well-to-do sherry-tippling May contrasted well with the constantly suspicious Emily.

Supporting the main characters were Alan Munday as Emily's son Alan, Maryann Mendum as the charmingly slapdash Sally, and Louise Hayling as Mrs Lang, a performance that nicely contrasted the manager's businesslike facade with her patronising attitude towards the residents.

Sadly, there were a number of prompts and hesitant lines in the opening night performance - a pity as it slowed the pace of the play and made some scenes a little confusing. Nevertheless, the cast put every ounce of energy into the action and the result was very enjoyable, with memorable characterisation and some poignant humour.

Paul Robinson's production team should be commended for a first-rate atmospheric set and good lighting, while the front of house team offered their usual warm welcome.