Entertaining local folk for nearly fifty years: with Entertaining Angels, Polegate Drama Group’s most recent production is well up to its own long-standing traditions.
Richard Everett’s play majored in Chichester with Penelope Keith, and it’s well worth another airing. Sue Talmadge is Grace, recently widowed and about to move from the vicarage, while new priest Sarah (Mandy Brown) moves in. But the process is much more complicated. Late husband Bardolph – Jim Dobell at his mellow best – hasn’t quite gone. He ghosts his way in and out of the potting shed, and Grace still converses with him. As well as working through her grief, there are painful family issues to confront. Grace’s sister Ruth (Cris Haniver) reveals secrets and the play becomes a bitter-sweet balance of the affectionate and the anguished.
Daughter Jo (Jane Parratt) tries to make sense of it. Jane’s acting and characterisation are excellent - as with all the actors, the fruits of that process of exploring and developing the characters in rehearsal. This is a fine production, staged on a highly impressive set from Jim Dobell and his team. It’s a little bit wordy in parts, but the comedy is gentle, the script consistently witty, and the playing under Sylvia Dobell’s direction is warm and credible. Suspend your disbelief with the ghostly story, and you are richly rewarded, by a splendid local drama group which resiliently keeps live theatre alive.