Company's unusual mix of drama and comedy
HAROLD Pinter's 1963 play The Lover, in which a middle class comfortably off husband and wife play sexual games, each pretending to be the other's illicit lover, and a play specially written for the company, provided an unusual mix of drama and comedy.
Under Bob Havard's careful direction Rolf Togneri and Fiona McClure quickly got to the heart of the sexual drama in The Lover, their two well drawn characters creating a great deal of anxious tension.
The ironic comedy interwoven so cleverly by Pinter in his script was less evident, which meant that the pace that comes with a lighter touch was sometimes a little too measured.
The poised underplaying seen in The Lover contrasted greatly with the ferocity of delivery seen in Better the Devil. Written and directed by Alec Needham, on the face of it the play took a tongue-in-cheek look at the chaos about to explode when God takes a holiday and the Devil goes missing from his post.
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Just below the surface could be found some deeper, more serious parallels, with the way in which governments of the world run their everyday business.
In the chase to gather in all the comedy on offer most of the cast found themselves with too much freedom.
Sam Skelton and Fran Lewis' strong portrayal of the two leading lights of the underworld lost some of the effectiveness by verbally attacking virtually every phrase.
They found ready opponents in Paul Dyson and Rick Proctor as the bickering top angels Michael and John.
A calming influence on proceedings came from Olivia Griffiths and Peter Spence quietly playing out a love story in the midst of the more frantic goings on around them.