Reviewed by Janice Bailey
St Jude’s has a well-earned reputation for presenting a variety of excellent productions. ‘Playing Sinatra’, their current production, is certainly no exception. Bernard Kops’ Playing Sinatra is a well-crafted, absorbing play which requires a depth of understanding of the writer’s intentions by the director and the actors.
The play is a 3-hander and Geoff Brittain shows his wealth of successful directing experience by eliciting superb performances from each of the talented actors. Each role is a challenge and the cast does not disappoint. Andrew Horwood’s portrayal of the enigmatic Phillip keeps us wondering who he really is. Cheryl Douglas as Sandra evokes our sympathy as she wrestles with the dilemma of a sense of loyalty toward Norman and her own need for survival. It is a testament to Cheryl’s acting ability that she draws us into her struggle and takes us with her on Sandra’s journey to free herself from Norman’s web. Anthony Clapp’s performance never wavers as we are torn between an element of sympathy, to feeling horror toward the evil Norman is capable of.
Ole Wiebkin’s fascinating set immediately informs the audience that we are about to enter a world of mystery where nothing is what it seems and we are kept wondering right until the end. ‘Playing Sinatra’ is in itself a play on words – Norman and Sandra are involved in ‘playing’ the game that keeps their lives inextricably entwined; the strains of Sinatra bind the action of the play and add to the aura of mystery. This is one show not to be missed.