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Posted by : al_geary on Jul 21, 2017 - 11:01 AM Midlands
Nottingham.

DANGEROUS CORNER: J B Priestley.
4Stars****


Nottingham Playhouse.
www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk.
Runs: 2h 30m: one interval: till 22nd July.
Performance times: 7.30pm (matinees Weds 2.00pm and Sat 3.00pm),
Review: Alan Geary: 18th July 2017.


One of the best things the Classic Thriller Season has come up with in years.

This interpretation of J B Priestley’s early thirties success is one of the very best things the Classic Thriller Season has come up with in years.

It starts on a high. A vintage track of someone singing “I’ll be loving you” is filling the theatre when the curtain opens on a simple but ravishing set, a beautifully furnished drawing room surrounded by drapes hanging from way up above the stage. A man seated at a grand piano is playing and singing the same song.

It’s Gordon Whitehouse (David Osmond), entertaining a group of friends – evening suits or highly becoming frocks – most of whom are connected with a family publishing house, at an after-dinner party.

All goes well in a stiff and formal, awkward sort of way until some chance remark about a music box. Thereafter the conversation takes an acrimonious dive. It centres on the late Martin, who seems to have trousered some of the firm’s money then shot himself. Turns out though that it wasn’t as simple as that.

The six characters, all of them well acted and differentiated, end up engaging in an inquest into their recent pasts in which skeletons tumble in rapid succession out of six cupboards. Major revelations involve not only pilfering but sex – everyone turns out to be in love with someone they shouldn’t be – and drugs.

And then, of course, Priestley plays the sort of trick with time made famous later on in his thorough-going time plays.

Dangerous Corner lacks the explicit moral earnestness of, say, An Inspector Calls, though there is a moral centre in the person of Olwyn Peel, played by Jo Castleton in a welcome return to the Thriller Season Company. Paradoxically the only other basically decent type is Charles Stanton (a super Mark Huckett), a cynical cad and bounder who raises a lot of the laughs.

The 2006 Thriller Season sent this play up as a risible period piece. But without losing the comic moments, this production plays it straight; and it works.

Directed by Karen Henson, this is outstanding stuff from Tabs Productions.


Freda Caplan: Charlotte Chinn.
Miss Mockridge: Susan Earnshaw.
Betty Whitehouse: Anna Mitcham.
Olwyn Peel: Jo Castleton.
Charles Stanton: Mark Huckett.
Gordon Whitehouse: David Osmond.
Robert Caplan: Chris Sheridan.


Director: Karen Henson.
Set Design: Sarah Kordas.
Lighting Design: Michael Donoghue.
Sound Design: David Gilbrook.
Costume: Geoff Gilder.
 
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