A PASSIONATE WOMAN
by Kay Mellor.
Coliseum Theatre To 4 June 2011.
Runs 1hr 50min One interval.
Review: Stoon 25 May 2011.
Lofty Passion warms without conquering your heart .
Set in an attic, this concerns sanctuary rather than beasts lurking therein, though don’t rule out Spirits from the Other Side.
Betty, like any protective mother, is reluctant to accept her son’s flight from the nest and stages a lock-in in the household attic – on the morning of his wedding. Like any good roof-top protestor, she refuses all attempts and invitations to descend amidst the heightening anxieties of her family.
Early doors, Betty (Kay Mellor, also the author) delivers a monologue of trivial housewifey recollections and regrets but can’t quite cut the comedy mustard viz Stockport’s finest Barbara Nice. She’s better when sharing the spotlight with a foil; her increasingly exasperated son Mark (Anthony Lewis) duly obliges – their exchanges lend the opening act relevance and heightened dramatic tension as the lateness of the hour threatens a jilted bride.
Disappointingly, post-interval proceedings lose sparkle: the narrative ball isn’t dropped so much as stuffed up a shirt as the play focuses mainly on the physicality of the situation – special mention to designer Foxton’s nifty set change which quite literally raises the roof.
Despite the well-orchestrated visuals and requisite bluster (mainly supplied by Donald, the husband/father), a beefier plot and more sensitive character portrayals would’ve upped the viewing ante, which hovers undecided between the comic and meaningful.
It’s satisfactory taken as a whole, better even in flashes, but feels shoehorned to fit a target audience. Even if that’s not the case, the particular sex/age demographic which comprised 90% of the audience applauded lavishly, fair play to ’em.
Betty: Kay Mellor.
Mark: Anthony Lewis.
Craze: Stuart Manning.
Donald: James Hornsby.
Jo: Amy Olive.
Director: Gareth Tudor Price.
Lighting: Graham Kirk.
Sound: Lorna Munden
Musical Director: Howard Gray.
Choreographer: Beverley Edmunds.