Mortimer Dramatic Society
Anybody For Murder?, 19th to 20th October and 26th to 27th October,
By Brian Clemens & Dennis Spooner. Max is planning to murder his wife Janet, collect her life insurance and enjoy a new life with his girlfriend when Mary and George arrive on their Greek island with news: Mary and Janet are beneficiaries of a huge fortune. Plans and plots hatch, and soon everyone is bent on murder. All that stands in their way is the presence of a neighbour who knows a thing or two about murder, crime writer Edgar Chambers. This full-on, high speed, manic paced comedy is a roller coaster of mayhem and misshape as plots go awry, bodies vanish and re-appear, and everyone is sucked into a maelstrom of greed and murder.
St John's Hall, 22 West End Road, Mortimer Common, RG7 3TF.
Book online via the website or call Tom on 0778 533 3321.
Review of Gaslight
1st to 2nd June and 8th to 9th June 2018
Review from Newbury Theatre.
Patrick Hamilton’s psychological thriller gave rise to the term gaslighting, meaning “to cause someone to doubt their sanity through the use of psychological manipulation”.
The play is set in 1880 in the home of the middle-class Manninghams and as the curtains open we see their sitting room. This is a ‘wow’ moment – the set is magnificent. The programme doesn’t credit a Set Designer (I suspect John Bull), but it’s beautifully detailed (picture rail and dado rail), decorated and furnished and looks just right. MDS always produce impressive sets, but this was something special.
Jack Manningham dominates his wife Bella and is wearing her down, making her think she’s going mad. The unexpected arrival of a detective, Inspector Rough, sheds a different light on things and as the play progresses the interactions of the three main characters leads us to a satisfactory conclusion.
Sarah Roper, as Bella Manningham, is excellent as she deals with her own fears as well as being pulled in different directions by Jack and Rough. This was a thoroughly believable performance, with her elation over the theatre trip turning to despair and doubt, all done without overplaying the emotions and helped by her expressive face.
Strong performances too from the two maids: Elizabeth (Kerry Thomas), sympathetic and loyal, and the cockney Nancy (Helen Sharpe), cheeky and flirty.
Iain Vernon Wilson played Jack, the superior and sinister paterfamilias, and James Burton Stewart was confident as Rough.
But… the old MDS bugbear: prompts and fluffed lines. There were literally dozens of them on the first Saturday – naming no names, but you know who you are. This destroys the pace and is extremely unsettling for the audience (and the cast!). Sorry, MDS, but it isn’t good enough. You’ve got good actors but they must know their lines.
Director Lawrence Picking made good use of the set, although Rough seemed to wander around randomly at times.
A great set complemented with some splendid costumes, a good play and good acting, but too many prompts.
Gaslight, 1st to 2nd June and 8th to 9th June 2018
The Flint Street Nativity, 19th to 20th January and 26th to 27th January 2018
Keeping Down With the Joneses, 20th to 21st October and 27th to 28th October 2017. See the review in the archive.
Night Must Fall, 26th to 27th May and 2nd to 3rd June 2017. See the review in the archive.
Up Pompeii, 20th to 21st January and 27th to 28th January 2017
The Small Hours, 21st to 22nd October and 28th to 29th October 2016. See the review in the archive.
Death By Design, 27th to 28th May and 3rd to 4th June 2016
'Allo 'Allo, 22nd to 30th January 2016
Beyond a Joke, 23rd to 24th October and 30th to 31st October 2015. See the review in the archive.
Kindertransport, 29th to 30th May and 5th to 6th June 2015
Deathtrap, 17th to 18th October and 24th to 25th October 2014. See the review in the archive.
Third Week in August, 30th to 31st May and 6th to 7th June 2014. See the review in the archive.
Murder Mystery Dinner Evening, 17th to 18th January and 24th to 25th January 2014
Kindly Keep It Covered, 18th to 26th October 2013. See the review in the archive.
Calendar Girls, 31st May to 1st June and 7th to 8th June 2013
Entertaining Angels, 19th to 20th October and 26th to 27th October 2012
Natural Causes, 21st to 22nd and 28th to 29th October 2011.
See the review in the Archive.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, 27th to 28th May and 3rd to 4th June 2011
The Amorous Ambassador, 22nd to 23rd and 29th to 30th October 2010. See the review in the Archive.
The Day After The Fair, 28th to 29th May and 4th to 5th June 2010
Another Opening, Another Show, 15th to 16th, 20th and 22nd to 23rd January 2010
Dead Man’s Hand, 29th to 30th May and 5th to 6th June 2009. See the review in the Archive.
The Cemetery Club, 24th to 25th October and 31st October to 1st November 2008
Hobson’s Choice, 30th to 31st May and 6th to 7th June 2008
A Murder Has Been Arranged, 25th to 26th May and 1st to 2nd June 2007. See the review in the Archive.
A Breath of Spring, 2nd to 3rd and 9th to 10th June 2006
Curtains, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th October 2005. See the review in the Archive.
The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy, 29th to 30th April and 6th to 7th May 2005
The Shakespeare Revue, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th January 2005
The Deep Blue Sea, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th October 2004. See the reviews in the Archive.
Comic Potential, 30th April, 1st, 7th and 8th May 2004. See the reviews in the Archive.
Take Away The Lady, 24th, 25th and 31st October and 1st November 2003.
Local Affairs, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th May 2003. See the review in the Archive.
Quartet, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th October 2002. See the review in the Archive.
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production Of Macbeth, 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th May 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Abigail's Party, 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th January 2002. See the review in the Archive.
Educating Rita, 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th October 2001. See the review in the Archive.
Spring and Port Wine, 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th May 2001. See the review in the Archive.