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NODA Said:

Alvechurch Dramatic Society
9th May 2014
Alvechurch Village Hall
Comedy by Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Kath Whitehead and Sarah Morrison

The thought of watching a play about a committee meeting ( or rather a series of them) ought to send one to seek the shelter of a silent contemplative religious order! However In the hands of Alan Ayckbourne such a scenario almost left me looking forward to my next committee meeting.

The play traces the meetings leading up to a pageant to re-enact the massacre of the Pendleton Twelve, an event which it finally turns out to be a myth. The play centres round the characters on the ad hoc committee, their relationship to each other and their own personal agendas. The characters are stylised picking up on their idiosyncrasies such that most of us who have served on committees will have known such individuals, the local councillor whose total contribution is to pick up typos in minutes and who fails to obtain support from his local authority. A young politically inclined extremist who sees the pageant as a vehicle to promote his political views and . the member having marital problems all led by a chairman whose wife clearly has differing views on both direction and her status. All combine to provide a most enjoyable comedy and an evenings entertainment of the highest order.

The Alvechurch Village Hall was full to capacity. The words were by the brilliant Alan Ayckbourne but the life was breathed into them by Chris Davies, who as the chairman Ray Dixon only lost his cool once, ,Sarah Taylor as his wife Helen perpetually exuded an air of superiority, Adam Brown fitted seamlessly into the the roll of Eric Collins, the political activist with his almost silent partner Philippa played by Gemma Batty . Sophie Barton runs a kennels with her protective Brother Tim, a retired army captain and becomes increasingly taken by Eric was very convincingly portrayed by Leah Yendell and. Steve Siddle seemed a natural as Councillor Donald Evans and although she said little, the councillors’ almost deaf elderly mother (Sue Resuggan) added greatly to the humour, her inability to hear being replaced by her ability to lip read leads to unexpected candour. Tony Godfrey as Lawrence Adamson and Keith Yendall as Max Kirkov completed the team.

The final scenes in the committee room during the pageant bring Captain Tim to the forefront with his decidedly maniacal “shoot to kill” policy adding greatly to the inevitable shambles.

The happy buzz of a contented audience as they left for home tells it all, an entertaining evening. With a performance such as this it is easy to see why this society deserved their “Best Drama” award.

Michael Hastilow.