‘Melville Winter warmers - 2009’, is a season of one-act plays, presented by the Melville Theatre Company inStock Road, Palmyra. Ticket prices include excellent homemade soup at interval. Performances at 8.00 pm until Saturday the 15th August.
‘Effie's Burning’ by English playwright Valerie Windsor, was published in 1988 and directed by Vanessa Jensen.
Dr Ruth Kovacs (Vidya Rajan) is a newly qualified doctor in an English hospital. She is struggling to cope with her overbearing, supervising medic whilst trying to gain patient skills, when she is sent to treat Effie. Effie (Penny Searle), who was mentally certified as a teenager, is now being treated for severe burns to her face and limbs.
Dr Kovacs and Effie build up a relationship over the period of treatment, during which many tragic secrets are revealed.
Penny Searle was mesmerising as the mad (but was she?) patient, beautifully countered by Vidya’s cool professional doctor’s approach. This is a wonderfully scripted play, which in the wrong hands could have been either over-sentimental or even farcical, however with Vanessa Jensen’s outstanding direction, and the truly amazing acting in this lengthy dialogue, the result was memorable.
‘Queer Street’ was written in 1961 by John Donald Kelly, and directed by Kirstie Francis.
It is evening and Mr Hart (Doug Hellens), a burglar, is preparing to go out to work with his friend Joe (Norm Heath), when his wife (Diana Ryman) appeared in her best frock. In typical male fashion, he wasn’t too interested until his daughter Edith (Breeahn Jones – who has had a very busy and successful year) arrived, similarly dressed in her best. Edith had just become engaged to Albert (Matt Lawrence) and was bringing him home to meet the parents. But why did they want Mr Hart out of the house, away from her fiancé?
Then when a detective (Stephen Koczian) calls an hour later the problems really begin.
This is a funny comedy, although now showing its age a little, which was well carried off by a competent cast.
‘Caught on the Hop’ a farce by prolific English playwright, and barrister, David Foxton, is skilfully directed by Felicity May.
It is France 1890, when in the middle of the night, the housekeeper (Melanie Payne) is awoken by banging on the door. It is her dim-witted mistress, Sophie (Laila Gampfer) returning home unexpectedly after ‘visiting her old aunt’ - a rendezvous with her lover! She is helped in by a porter (Jeff Hansen) who becomes soaked.
Sophie’s husband (Martin Lindsay) who was ‘at a convention’ – doing the naughties elsewhere – also returns home unexpectedly with Esmeralda (Anna Peluso) his fancy woman, not far behind. True chaos ensues.
An unusual farce with cleverly written dialogue, which relies on the nutty characters misunderstanding each other. The whole cast worked well together, good pace, and there were some very funny moments. However, I found the whole play to be a bit too chaotic – I suspect it was simply the style intended by the writer.
Three very enjoyable plays, by some good casts.