South Holland Centre, Spalding
SADOS bravely took on the challenge of staging the play at South Holland Centre, Spalding – brave because there seemed to be an awful lot of dialogue and because it needed some finely nuanced performances to succeed.
The story is one that will probably ring true for many people as they make preparations to bring family together for Christmas.
Hosts Belinda and Neville (Anita Heaton and Andrew PJ Canham) have generously thrown open their doors to an assortment of family members – including Neville’s sister Phyllis (Rebecca Jones) and her husband Bernard (Clive Bourne), and Belinda’s sister Rachel (Daisy Ivatt) whose friend Clive (Phil Clarke) is the catalyst for much of the action.
The trouble for me was that Clive needed to be much more committed to his role as seducer of first his hostess Belinda and then Phyllis.
The women were open to his advances because their own husbands were either totally disengaged from personal relationships because of a fascination for gadgetry (sound familiar anyone?) or incapable of dealing with real emotions (Bernard).
Anita Heaton was a natural in the role and gave a constantly confident performance while the talents of PJ, who we know from past productions is a talented actor, were not allowed to shine fully because of his character’s obsession with devices. There was good acting too from Daisy Ivatt and Clive Bourne.
There were funny moments – such as passion under the Christmas tree – but one particularly jarring one (from aggressive husband Eddie [Matt Heaton]) in an otherwise lighthearted play.