Reviewed by Kerry Cooper
Many ingredients make a good melodrama and experienced director Pam O’Grady is just the person to bring them all together to produce this riotous night at the theatre. American playwright and author Henning Nelms wrote this little gem in 1944, but it has lost none of its charm.
Master of ceremonies Joshua Coldwell introduces us to character mayhem with allure and vigour and his dialogue is made all the more impressive when you realise he wrote all his lines. Clearly understanding the genre he was hosting Coldwell adds many one-liners that will have you rolling in the aisles.
Exaggerated characters were aplenty and none more so than the dastardly villain Arthur Rutherford brought deliciously to life by Barry Hill; he skulked about the stage much to the disdain of the audience who booed and hissed relentlessly. Our hero, Dick Perkins and heroine, Nellie were played by Robert Bell and Sophia Bubner respectively. Bell was a crowd favourite and delighted the audience with his presence and hilarious physicality. Penelope Hamilton Smith was wonderfully over the top as our villain’s wife Ethel, as was the remainder of the strong cast.
Fabulous scenery painted by Brian Budgen was spot on and highlighted the wonderful sets on display by Vincent Eustace. Costumes were authentic and first time stage manager Elizabeth Ollson did a great job in keeping the show bouncing along. Sandi McMenamin and Rowan Dennis added to the already lively show.
A wonderful finish to what has been a strong year for ‘The Rep’.