Review

Most of our reviews are re-printed with kind permission of the Knutsford Guardian

knutsford Little Theatre

Last weekend saw our local theatre host an international event as twenty seven short plays from authors all over the world were performed at the Little Theatre.

Friday started with the beautifully written ‘Cloud Seven’ by Lisa Burdick where John Smith, Lilian Atkinson and Bob Jennings described the place where people who can’t cope with the pace of cloud nine spend their time. Next came David Clegg’s ‘Speed Dating’, a briskly funny play that warns that people may not be all they seem. Then it was a total contrast with Aoise Stafford’s poignant drama ‘Our Lady of the Sea’ with Damien Oakes taking the central role of three men each describing their loss. Next it was just plain daft with Josh McVain’s ‘The Trouble with Day Care’ as Nicola Quinn turns in a frantic performance as a woman who’s husband is incapable of picking up the right baby from the nursery. After this the lights dimmed slightly for the heartbreaking monologue ‘Thin Air’ by Tom Coash. We barely had time to dry our eyes before we were into John Shanahan’s ‘The Worst Possible Time for Writers Block’ noted for Bob Jennings convincing portrayal of a ‘minion of Death’ frustrated by John Smith’s determination to leave his mark before leaving this world. Linda Rushton made a confident stage debut as the sister pleading with the minion for more time. It was nearly the interval but there was just time for ‘Planting the Music’ by Maureen Brady Johnson with Tina Buckley remembering her father and Sean Duvall worried for her state of mind. After our refreshments we found ourselves in Easy Chip for David Clegg’s second serving this evening, ‘Fast Food Fun’ featured Nicola Ritchie and Tracey Abbott both making assured debuts on the KLT stage and then it was something of a first for me. Robin Pond’s ‘Moon’s Interview’ is a ten minute play entirely in verse. Mike Wilding played the troubled Mr Moon interviewed by the businesslike Joyce Smith with narration eloquently provided by Anne Frumin. Next was David Muncaster’s ‘Kennel Club’ which allows Mike Skidmore and Pete Wilding to shine as a Terrier and a German Shepherd, tempered perfectly by Hannah Green in the lead role as the calming Golden Retriever. As the dogs leave the stage they were replaced by Jill Freeman delivering a hilarious monologue ‘A Friend in Knutsford’ by Peter Porter then it was back to animals as Margaret Farmer and Chris Race swam up out of the auditorium in Aoise Stafford’s funny yet thought provoking ‘Turtle Beach’. Sean Duvall had great fun portraying a Blockbuster Ninja in Brett Hursey’s bizarre ‘Kung Foolery’ before the evening was brought to a close by David Muncaster appearing as the larger than life salesman with a mysterious product in Jay Rehak’s ‘Dr J’s Magic Spray’. As the curtain closed the audience were invited to vote for their favourite play of the evening which, on this occasion was David Muncaster’s ‘Kennel Club’.

Saturday opened with Susan Middaugh’s darkly comic ‘Queen for a Day’ and the near capacity audience clearly enjoyed seeing Hannah Green in the central role then it was back to animals with Claudia Haas’s ‘Dog Day Afternoon’. Tony Turner played a doctor with a wicked sense of humour in David Muncaster’s ‘Spider Spider’ before a complete mood change as the audience were riveted by the politically charged ‘Chocolate’s for Mr Wolfowitz’ by Keith Burridge. This superb drama benefited from inspirational direction form Tina Buckley and a stunning performance by John Freeman in the almost silent title role. Then it was back to animals as Jill Freeman and Lilian Atkinson made the most of Mark Harvey Levine’s hilarious ‘The Prodigal Cow’ before we gradually learned the awful truth in the Hugh Cardiff’s ‘The Librarian’. After the interval we were treated to John and Joyce Smith sparring as a short sighted pair in Peggy Dougherty’s mirthful ‘Strange Bedfellows’ before another change of pace as Damien Oakes played the menacing thug in ‘Your Money or Your Life’ by Drew Davis. Pete Wilding and Dan Dorey had fun stuck in a lift in Lia Romeo’s ‘Tenth Floor’ and then Betty Darbyshire and Margaret Farmer bonded in John A Donnelly’s thought provoking ‘Entering a Mindfield’. Sean Duvall excelled as a man returning to nature in Dennis Jones’s ‘A Drive in the Country’ before Emily-May Walker and Bob Jennings played characters who overcame their own reservations in Tim Brennan’s ‘By the Letter.’ The festival was brought to a close in appropriate fashion by a play about a play festival as Linda Rushton and Tracey Abbott joined John Smith and Tony Turner in David Muncaster’s lightning paced ‘If You’ll Just Let Me…’. The audience award went to Mark Harvey Levine for ‘The Prodigal Cow’

The festival was clearly a great success and the people of Knutsford will look forward to next time. In the meanwhile it is back to the agenda for the Little Theatre as they prepare for their next production which will be Dennis Potter’s ‘Sufficient Carbohydrate’ which runs from November 12th – 15th.