The Greville Theatre Club

Brideshead Revisited

by Evelyn Waugh

adapted for the stage
 by Roger Parsley

May/June 2006

Directed by
Karen Ashton


Review: James Tout

PERFORMING a dramatisation of Evelyn Waugh's family saga, Brideshead Revisited, was a daring venture for Greville Theatre Club.

Sceptics might have feared Roger Parsley's two-hour adaptation of the epic about Charles Ryder, and his dealings with the declining aristocratic Flyte family, would have been beyond the powers of the small Little Easton-based company. But the show's five-night run at the Barn Theatre simply served to remind the audience that this group's willingness to tackle ambitious projects pays off.

Nigel Smith and Adam Thompson did well to handle the challenging lead roles as Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte respectively. Both interpreted their characters convincingly, with Thompson in particular changing his stage persona from happy-go-lucky student at the play's start, to hopeless alcoholic by its end. Many of the supporting actors gave excellent performances, in particular Jan Ford (Lady Marchmain), whose impressive presence and commanding delivery was reminiscent of Judi Dench. James Rawes was hilarious as Mr Ryder, Charles' eccentric father, while David Bone camped it up as a Kenneth Williams-inspired Anthony Blanche. Also very strong were Andy Jameson (Rex Mottram), Carol Parradine (Julia Flyte) and Peter Nicholson (Lord Marchmain). The latter's death sequence towards the play's end was powerfully acted.

The 31 scenes listed in the programme seemed like a daunting prospect at first sight, but, in fact, played out smoothly and logically, with key characters being clearly identifiable with different settings. Director Karen Ashton should be congratulated for putting on an enjoyable show. Although the Greville Theatre Club is renowned for excellent productions, it's always a pleasure to see good traditions continuing. The group is currently seeking new members to carry out a variety of roles, including acting as well as an array of backstage functions. For more information contact Marcia Baldry on 01371 850939.

The play is on tonight (8pm).



Review by Pat Rudkins