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

Loddon Players - Lucky Sods

16th to 18th April 2015.

Review from Newbury Theatre and the Basingstoke Gazette.

John Godber’s play is about relationships, and the effects that a lottery win can have on them. Morris and Jean, married for 22 years, have settled into a rut of bickering domesticity. When they win two million pounds on the lottery, Jean feels that their lives must change for the better; Morris isn’t so sure. Jean wants to travel and spend, Morris is much more cautious and tight-fisted. This leads to the breakdown of their marriage and Morris’s return to a former girlfriend. It’s a serious play but, as you’d expect from Godber, with lots of funny lines.

Maggie Brown as Jean and Pete Cook as Morris are outstanding, and the opening scene in their lounge sets a cracking pace for the rest of the play. Carolyn Miles and Susan Barham, as Jean’s sister Annie and their mother, give very strong performances; not a family you’d want to get into an argument with.

Pete Francis is Annie’s husband, the rather ineffectual and laid-back Norman, and Louise Hayling is good as Connie, Morris’s extra-marital interest. The smaller parts are the Vicar (Kate Youll) and the waiter (Alan Munday – the American accent needs some work!).

The plot produces a big range of emotions, and these are really well handled by the cast, particularly by the two main characters, with Maggie Brown going from elation to despair, and Pete Cook’s Morris struggling to overcome his caution and meanness. He handled the drunk scenes well, although his diction was more difficult to understand in these. Underlying their problems was the death of their daughter in a traffic accident, opaquely alluded to but clearly affecting them deeply.

With seven different scenes, the set is problematic for an amateur group, but it was imaginatively done with smooth scene changes, in full sight which added interest.

The final scene, with Morris’s homecoming, didn’t quite work. Maybe Morris should be to one side, rather than centre stage, with Norman and Annie to the other side.

Director Matt Stanley gave us a fast paced production of an interesting play with some top class acting.