Report by: Peter Parlour on Thursday 3 November 2016 Venue: Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond Director: Jim Brown
RADS and their director Jim Brown produced two one-act plays with the same cast, with very different characterisations for each actor in the two plays. They performed it very well indeed, confirming the talent on stage with excellent performances in each play.
The Real Inspector Hound
The play is about two theatre critics becoming involved in the appallingly bad play which they are reviewing, the outcome being both tragic and hilarious. Mike Walker who played 'Moon' and Dan Cockett who played 'Birdboot', acted very well indeed. 'Mrs Drudge' the housekeeper was superbly played by Suzy Brown, 'Simon Gascoyne' the suspected killer on the run, was well played by Scott Fenney. His supposed girlfriend was 'Felicity Cunningham' well played by a very lively Tilly Greer. Felicity's friend and rival was played by Ann Greer as 'Cynthia Muldoon', a very strong character indeed. 'Magnus Muldoon' was played by Martin Ash, in a wheelchair, and one wondered if he was the murderer, however the real Inspector Hound, played with great character by Doug Clayton arrived and tried to sort it all out (without success). Tom Stoppard's twist in the tale finds the two theatre critics involved in the on-stage action, with Moon finding himself accused of the murder. This was very well done with consistent comedy throughout.
At the opening of the curtains the set was completely dark - when a power-cut occurred onstage the lights came up for the audience but the players had to act as if they were in complete darkness, and how well they performed. Scott Fenney was excellent playing 'Brindsley Miller' engaged in moving the furniture he had 'borrowed' to impress his fiancée's father and an expected millionaire art dealer back to its rightful owner completely in the dark. Doug Clayton played the bewildered father 'Colonel Melkett', he was very well portrayed and was excellent.
Brindsley's ex-girlfriend, 'Clea' was very well played by Ann Greer, and his fiancée was well played by Tilly Greer as 'Carol Melkett'. Their neighbour (and owner of the 'borrowed' furniture and objets d'art) was very well played by Mike Walker as 'Harold Gorringe' who was highly camp with a short fuse. Moving around the stage in the darkness caused great amusement and was excellently done. Another neighbour was 'Miss Furnival', a teetotal spinster, very well and quietly played by Suzy Brown, discovering both the joys and the effects of alcohol during the course of the play.
All of this was caused by a major fuse blowing and Dan Cockett, who played the German 'Schuppanzigh', an Electricity Board employee mistaken for the millionaire art dealer, arrived to restore the lighting. When he did the whole household wondered where the furniture had gone. The last character to arrive, played by Martin Ash was 'Georg Bamberger', the art dealer who came to the flat with the intention of buying some of Brindsley's sculptures. The play was really well done and the idea of using the same cast was excellent. It was initially difficult to judge just what was happening, as each time a torch , match or lighter was lit onstage the overall lighting dimmed (the opposite to what would happen in real life!), and when the light source was extinguished the cast were again plunged into 'darkness'. With so much happening the cast did a great job in remembering their lines.
Yes, Jim, your idea was a success, and an excellent night's entertainment.
Report by: Christina McIntyre - D&S Times Friday 18 November 2016
For this year’s autumn production, Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society chose a double bill which showcased the versatility of the eight performers and required double the input from costume and set designers. Happily, all acquitted themselves well.
The staging for Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound was that of the drawing room of Muldoon Manor, where a traditional fireplace, an oriental carpet and a chaise longue with a body prostrate behind it set the scene for a whodunit.
The action flashed between the stage and the theatre’s Collman Box in which two theatre critics intermittently discussed the play in the traditionally esoteric and pretentious terms used by such folk (present company excepted!).
After the interval, the stage was transformed into an apartment for Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer in which the furniture had been “borrowed” for the night from an absent neighbour.
The opening portion was performed in total blackout, and when the stage lights came up, it was to indicate that the opposite was occurring and there had been a power cut in the apartment. As the characters stumbled around the stage, talking blindly to one another, muddling up their drinks and the identities of all present, the ensuing comic chaos saw the audience laughing along throughout.
The star of this double bill was Suzy Brown as Mrs Drudge and Miss Furnival. In fully embracing her two allocated characters, she created a stark contrast between the dowdy housekeeper deliberately overplaying her lines to create stage cues for an incompetent crew, with the snooty middle class, teetotal spinster who takes refuge from the dark.
Directed by Jim Brown, these two well-chosen 1960s' farces and RADS’ hallmark enthusiasm provided hearty entertainment for those both on stage and in the audience.
the real inspector hound
is a one-act play by Tom Stoppard. The plot follows two theatre critics named Moon and Birdboot who are watching a ludicrous country house murder mystery, in the style of a whodunit. By chance, they become involved in the action causing a series of events that parallel the play they are watching…
In Peter Shaffer’s hilarious farce, the action supposedly in the dark is illuminated; when the lights are to be on, the stage is in the dark. Lovesick and desperate, sculptor Brindsley Miller has ‘borrowed’ furniture and objets d'art from the absent antique collector next door hoping to impress his fiancee's pompous father and a wealthy art dealer. The fussy neighbour returns just as a blown fuse plunges the apartment into darkness. Unexpected guests, aging spinsters, errant phone cords and other snares impede Brindsley’s frantic attempts to return the purloined items before light is restored.