Reviewed by Wendy Mildren
Sir Peter Shaffer’s play Black Comedy is a truly unique piece of theatre as all the action takes place supposedly in the dark. When the stage lights are on the actors are supposedly in the dark and when the stage lights are off the actors are in the light and the audience can only hear them. This production was the Blackwood Players second for 2012.
The action takes place in the mid sixties when Brindsley Miller (Damien White) and his newly affianced Carol Melkett (Sally Fudge) are expecting a deaf millionaire to call to inspect Brindsley’s sculpture. In order to impress the Millionaire and Carol’s formidable father Colonel Melkett (Bryne Nickolls) the couple have gone next door, as their neighbour Harold Gorringe (Tim Shaw) is away for the weekend, and exchanged all their tatty furniture for his antiques. Once the lights have fused all plans to impress go to pot as confusion reigns. The neighbour returns early and in the dark Brindsley returns the antiques and brings his furniture back. Another neighbour, Miss Furnival (Melinda Pike) seeks refuge because of her fear of the dark, and a supposedly ex-girlfriend Clea (Bronwyn Ruciak) crashes the party.
White was excellent in his wordy and energetic role and held the action together. He coped well with convincing the audience that he was moving around in the dark. He looked exhausted at the end of the performance with all the moving of furniture and antics to keep his prospective father in law and his antique collecting neighbour from finding out all his deceptions. Fudge handled her role well and looked the part. Ruciak was terrific and seemed to be relaxed and enjoying the role. Pike was a show stealer and played her role to the hilt. The action when she and most of the furniture became wrapped in her knitting wool was classic. Shaw played his limp wristed part beautifully. Nickolls looked the part, but seemed to have trouble with his lines, which slowed the action down.
The set looked great and worked well. Stuart Partis did a good job of blocking as the cast moved around the crowded set well. The only bit of directing that confused this reviewer was Shaw’s two wordy speeches being delivered out front to the audience. In all, the show was extremely entertaining and was received well by the audience.