Performed at Brentwood School Memorial Hall on Thursday 11th April 2025 at 8pm          

This is Marlborough’s first play since before the pandemic and celebrates their 120th anniversary.  It must have been difficult choosing the right play to celebrate these two momentous events.  They choose a set of short playlets, written by Richard Harris and the performance was set in a hospital ward which was cleverly changed for each play, simply by moving screens and props around.

Every actor played a number of parts so apart from a couple, I will not define the parts that they played, simply that, as an ensemble piece, they all worked well.  The cast, in order of appearance, were Elaine Laight, James Biddles, Sarah Harrison, Juliette Bird, Roy Hobson, Hilary Andrews, Julia Stallard, Steve Bearpark, William Wells and Margaret Corry.

The first play, Magic, was a little slow in pace and there were a few slow cue pickups which didn’t help.  Apart from that the performances were good.  The second play, Keeping Mum, was, essentially a monologue, and Julia Stallard performed this with great passion and feeling.  This was followed by another short play, Plaster.  Again, the pace was quite slow and because of the way the two characters had been set, a lot of the dialogue was directed upstage.  This made it quite difficult to understand the dialogue although Sarah Harrison did her best to deliver it towards the audience.

The two plays in the second half were interesting, the first, Going Home, was nicely played although there were a couple of long silences which, I am sure, were due to first night nerves.  The final play, Show Business, was quite different and I am not, really, sure that it fitted in with the previous playlets.  However, that is clearly how the author wrote them.

Overall, the cast, produced a good evening’s entertainment.   The subject matter for all the plays was serious but there were plenty of opportunities for humour.  Some of which were missed, which was a shame as it would have lightened the performance.

Good to see everyone back on stage, together with a few new faces.  Thank you for your hospitality.

Tessa Davies



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