The Greville Theatre Club



Suddenly At Home

by Francis Durbridge


May/June 2003

Directed by
Marcia Baldry
and Judy Lee


 


DUNMOW OBSERVER

Review: Sinead Holland

The Greville Theatre Club's latest production ended with a bang and it was a fitting finale for a fast-paced play filled with twists and turns.

The small cast of just eight really seized Francis Durbridge's thriller Suddenly At Home by the throat and each of the actors gave a compelling performance in this tale of murder and betrayal.

The piece follows the story of Glenn Howard, a busy executive, who decides to get rid of his wealthy wife so he can avoid spending the rest of his life in bored luxury, yet spend her money. As always, there is another woman involved.

He formulates a complicated and devious plot to achieve his aim and Adam Thompson gave a very satisfying performance as the conceited killer who is initially convinced he has come up with a fool-proof plan. There was real gallows humour as his scheme frayed at the edges and gradually unravelled in grand style.

Jan Ford played his ill-fated wife, Maggie, with energy and it was a real shame that she was on stage for such a short time. She had a wonderful rapport with Diana Bradley, who, in turn, was convincing and sympathetic as her anguished sister.

A dapper James Rawes was suave and sophisticated as Maggie s former lover, who Glenn attempted to frame for the crime. The two men were well matched as adversaries in this story of conspiracy and deceit.

Karen Ashton was a joy as Sheila Wallis, the devious mistress. Her performance managed to capture the quality of guilt and hysteria perfectly as she slowly, but surely came to realise exactly what she had been persuaded to do and why.

The three remaining cast members Mel Murfin, Adrian Hoodless and Steve Bradley were also very entertaining, but to say more could spoil the play's wonderful twist in the tail.

Despite the fact that all the action takes place in the Howards' London flat in the early 1970s, there is nothing dated or claustrophobic about the production and that owes much to Marcia Baldry and Judy Lee's accomplished direction. The very professional set also deserves a special mention in what was an enjoyable evening of murder and mystery at The Barn Theatre, Little Easton.


 


 

BRAINTREE & WITHAM TIMES

Review by Pat Rudkins

On a sunny summer's evening, with a pleasant ploughman's supper beforehand, this play was ideal entertainment.

Directors Marcia Baldry and Judy Lee do full justice to this Francis Durbridge thriller which, in less capable hands, could be full of pitfalls. The excellent pace they maintained from the start kept the attentive audience agog until the exciting climax.

The cast could not be faulted. My "bouquet" goes to Karen Ashton whose portrayal of Sheila Wallis was mesmeric, from nervous cigarette-lighting to the mounting hysteria she displayed. To say more about her character would give the game away to those fortunate theatregoers planning to attend this weekend.

Adam Thompson, as Glenn Howard, shouldered the burden of this plot with physical ease and vocal resonance. Local hero James Rawes used the latter skill effectively too for Sam Blaine's contribution. Full marks to Diana Bradley for coping with the verbosity of Helen Tenby and to Jan Ford, whose Maggie Howard inspires confidence in proceedings, at the outset. Mel Murfin is a suitably earnest Ruth Bechler, while Adrian Hoodless and Steve Bradley make Appleton and Remick's contributions absolutely vital.

I was pleased that the action was played as set, in the 1970s - Andrea Edwards and Jan Mitchell's costumes confirmed this wise decision.

One plea, before the next performance - could the settee be moved a few centimetres towards centre stage? A pillar, in the auditorium, stage left, threatened to play a masking role on my visit.



PAT RUDKIN