Out of Focus, by Peter Gordon, is ideal fare for amateur actors, provided they have talent in depth.
Nine well-differentiated parts demand slick playing and clear characterisation. Words must be heard, and a sense of timing is essential. The Director must allow each performer to give of his or her best by devising stage settings and movements which place every conversation well.
Cheryl Veitch, John Dann and their able crew provided a perfect setting for some equally able acting. There was a special interest in seeing a long-established dramatic society playing in a village hall, presenting a group of initially diverse characters who find themselves preparing a pantomime for a similar hall. The fact that some of the dialogue is not strictly logical matters not; it gives many opportunities for each performer to shine. And shine they did.
Christine Fuller (as Helen Beever) was a terrifyingly bossy officer i/c an unseen Brownie pack. Polly McGrane (as Sue Dixon) remained a sane centre as light-hearted insanity raged about her. Cheryl Veitch, as the nervous wife of an unseen Vicar, earned everyone’s sympathy in a sensitive portrayal. Jane Bryant and Mark Foster became the sort of married couple we all know, constantly arguing, but nonetheless fond of each other. Marilynne Sharpin milked every line for a laugh as she struggled to set up her projector, or to fit a large piece of furniture through an small aperture. Camber Sands (is that really his name?) had to play a youth who was at the same time handsome, gormless and confident. A great performance! Adrian Sharpin’s role as intelligent off-duty policeman was expertly delivered, and Helen Lee’s portrayal of seductive Linda Hammond, black tights and all, must have raised many a male temperature.
High praise, too, for Jan Smith in charge of costumes. From the football-sized boobs worn by Bob in his panto role, to the various outfits of the cast, the dress always seemed to echo the mood.
The next East Dean production (April 30 to May 1) is Noel Coward’s Hay Fever. Can they keep up the standard, even raise their game? I think they can. By Robin Gregory.
Have you checked out our new Christmas section yet?
It’s packed with ideas and tips to ensure you make the most out of the festive season.
There’s recipes, suggestions for presents and everything from choosing your tree to recycling your packaging and paper.