Congratulations to ACT for a great evening's entertainment on Saturday night. Two one-act plays with a fish-and-chip supper in the interval.
First off was The Edge, by Steve Carley. A psychological thriller: the story of a man who suddenly discovers he can see a short time into the future. All is well and good for a week, but the blessing soon turns into a curse when he realises he can't see past 5pm on Friday...
Lovely supporting performances from Bill Jackson and Lynsey someone (sorry, I forgot her surname and I've lost the programme!). Bill, in particular, was very natural and believeable, though he needs to watch his hands which seem to wave up and down with each sentence. The lead actor was Graham Botterill and this was definitely the best role I've seen him play. Again, for the most part it was entirely believeable and a suitably naturalistic performance, especially given the jumps between the present and flashback that he was called to portray. The ending seemed a little forced, but then portraying extreme terror must be very hard to do convincingly.
The good lighting plot for this play really enhanced the atmosphere.
Overall, an excellent debut production for director Andrew Bradley. One small criticism would be the lack of depth in the play's blocking, everything being played in one plane across the stage, though that would appear to be a problem with the Addlestone Community Centre stage itself, as it looks very shallow.
Then, Last Tango in West Weybridge by David Tristram. This play also marked the debut for director Paul Bungard. It's a much lighter piece, following the four members of the West Weybridge Dramatic Society as they endeavour to save their club by putting on a risque new play.
This was a very amusing short play, relying on pacey playing from its cast to extract maximum humour from the situation. Alison Byers and Jenny Whitehouse gave us some top physical comedy in their parts, while Martin Gardner and Tony Richardson both provided able support with brusque and shirty performances - though I felt that the two chaps could have pushed their characterisations a bit further over the top to match the ladies' levels of committment.
Lighting and sound was OK. Not much else to say there, as there was little for them to do!
In terms of direction, I felt that the first scene, based in the committee room, could have done with a little more pace and movement - though I understand that the lack of pace may have been down to 'last night nerves' from the actors: Paul tells me that they were much better the previous days. The rest of the play was well staged, allowing everyone plenty of room to do their thing.
Overall, the whole evening was very enjoyable. Well done to everyone at ACT for an entertaining night out.