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Newbury Dramatic Society - Revolution and Revelations

20th to 22nd November 2014.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Highs and lows of Revolution & Revelations

Newbury Dramatic Society: Revolution & Revelations, at ACE Space, Newbury from Thursday, November 20, to Saturday, November 22

In producing Revolution and Revelations, Stage Write and NDS set out to provide a stage for new writers, with mixed results.

Ruth Wheeler's play Revolution, set in the 'New Britannia' of 2122AD was entertaining and Ben Eltonesque in its mood and motivation. A published sci fi writer, Wheeler's first play was well paced and intelligently funny, if a little predictable. Mike Brook played the president, as a Winston Churchill-styled, soft-spoken dictator. Alex (Parry Bates) as the common man was animated and energetic and his partner Jemima (Ceri Lawrence) is a lovely actor.

The younger actors injected an energy and pace to deflect from the space limitations of the ACE Space stage; there was also a good use of sound, representing the technology referenced in the play, and a delightful twist, together with Anne's well-paced direction, that lifted the play out of the mundane and predictable.

The second play, Revelations, was intended as a farce, but the jokes were too weak and infrequent to succeed. The play was, however, helped along by the strong performances of Cameron Bell and Ceri Lawrence, who had to work with one-dimensional, stock characters. Its pacing was sluggish and the director did not allow the audience to arrive at the main plot of the play by themselves. Any surprise was left wanting in the very first scene.

As a new writer and director, I am sure that Nick Card, who took on the task of writing, directing and acting the play will have gained valuable experience. Revelations may have been lacking but it showed great potential.

It was a thoroughly engaging evening and I must applaud Newbury Dramatic Society for supporting and encouraging new writers. This opens them up to even more exciting productions in the future, I am sure; if they can keep the actors who showed such talent on this run, they will be a tour de force.