Reviewed by Liz Griffiths
In less than a year since the club was formed, Steyning Drama Club’s enthusiasm and hard work were rewarded with two sell-out nights this March for its inaugural production at the Steyning Centre. Velma Oxtoby directed the cast in this one act play by Lynn Brittney.
The quiz at the tennis club where the play is set was not so popular, despite also offering a ploughman’s supper in the interval. There was tension and antagonism from the outset as several of the characters headed towards the inevitable brewing catastrophe.
Question master George (Malcolm Duke), put-upon caterer Marjorie (Tash Beresford- Theurer) and perpetually disappointed yet glamorous Tracy (Sarah Knights) provided the tension, while Steve Fuggles as Martin was pedantically antagonistic throughout. His long-suffering wife Alice (Jane Burton) slowly lost her patience with him as the evening wore on.
Eric (John Underwood), Donald (Philip Richardson) and Shelagh (Gaby Fox) provided warmth and humour, perhaps oblivious to the jealousy and resentment simmering among the others. Fittingly, no opportunity for a double entendre was missed by them, unless Donald was attending to the needs of his prostate.
The two outrageous adolescents played by Beverly Underwood and Julie Luckin no doubt provoked wry smiles of recognition in the audience. Everyone was grateful for the steadying hand of Marigold Simpson as retired teacher Pat when things threatened to get out of hand.
Heather (Tamara Swales) and Mike (Graham Oxtoby) were ultimately set free from their miserable marriages with more of a sense of relief than elation. They revealed they were looking forward to attending 60s revival concerts together rather than tennis club quiz nights. Serious, faithful George was left looking like Richard Whitely without Carol Vorderman. The audience was left to wonder whether jealous, jilted Marjorie would sober up and be allowed to step into the breach to keep score for him.
A fine set and delicious supper were provided by the arguably more retiring members of the club, but in no way did they shy away from excellence in these respects, proving that there is something for everyone in Steyning’s newest artistic outlet.
No doubt by the time they stage their second production in November, their membership will have ‘doubled’.
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