Next week Knutsford Little Theatre offers us a rare opportunity to see Dennis Potter’s first play, ‘Sufficient Carbohydrate’ and I was invited to a rehearsal in order to let readers know what to expect. If you liked Potter’s more well known pieces such as ‘The Singing Detective’ or ‘Blue Remembered Hills’, then you will certainly enjoy this performance of the play that Potter later adapted for TV under the name "Visitors".
John Smith puts in a confident performance as Jack Barber, an English businessman who is on holiday with his American counterpart, played with zeal by Sean Duvall. The play hinges on the tension that these two generate: Barber loathes his colleague as much as he hates all things American and is constantly suspicious of the motives behind the holiday which has been paid for by the company. Barber is not a character that audiences will initially warm to: the sympathies are more likely to be with Duvall’s character, Eddie Vosper. However, as the play develops, we peel away the layers of this complex character until the final scene when we finally understand his repeated allusions and he emerges as the only one with any credit.
Accompanying the men are their wives. Leslie Hornsby plays Elizabeth Barber with the grace that is necessary to shock us when events take an unexpected turn. Not so shocking, though, as are the revelations of Vosper’s wife Lucy, whose actions throw the whole party into disarray. This difficult role is played with the poise that audiences have come to expect from the accomplished actress in the role and is helped by a remarkable debut performance by Damien Oakes as her tortured stepson. Whilst the script ensures that there is an air of antagonism in the air throughout the play one gets a sense that this cast have really come together as a team and have clearly benefited from the vast experience that Noel Cornes has brought with his direction.
Audiences have come to expect magnificent sets from Knutsford Little Theatre and Bob Jennings has to be congratulated on an impressive first set design for the group. If you like realistic drama with a few light moments thrown in, you will enjoy this production. The play runs from November 12th – 15th and tickets are priced at £6 available by calling the box office on 01565 873515.