The Greville Theatre Club

Humble Boy

by Charlotte Jones

Oct/Nov 2006

Directed by
Rita Vango


Review: Toby Allanson

The Barn Theatre's tradition for staging quality drama was more than maintained by Friday night's production of Charlotte Jones' Humble Boy.

This dark comedy of the aftermath of a family bereavement, all played out in the heat of a sweltering summer, raised laughs aplenty while also tugging at the heart strings.

The play stands and falls on the performances of its two central characters, Felix Humble, and his mother, Flora, and the Greville Theatre Club's Steve Braham and Jan Ford both stepped up to the plate and smacked one out of the park.

The duo had an excellent rapport, Braham all hand-wringing nervousness and uncomfortable stammering clashing wonderfully with the brassy Ford, the very epitome of superficial confidence and glamour. The remaining four cast members provided able support and Rod Foster (George Pye), Carol Parradine (Rosie Pye) and Marcia Baldry (Mercy Lott) really came into their own during a disastrous al fresco lunch that proved the centre-piece of the second act and the highlight of the whole performance at Little Easton's historic theatre.

Foster and Baldry were required to deliver tricky spleen-venting speeches during this lunch from hell and both did so splendidly. Foster, in particular, was an extremely convincing foul-mouthed drunk. Steve Bradley was a beatific, serene presence as Jim, but barely figured until the dramatic denouement and all its revelations. With all the action set in the Humbles' garden, there was no need for elaborate props or laboured scene changes which meant the action flowed swiftly and there were no gimmicks to distract attention from the excellent performers.

Director Rita Vango harnessed her cast tremendously and they performed like a well-oiled machine (in more ways than one when it came to Foster) to produce a show of class and distinction that will live long in the memory.


Review by Pat Rudkins