by Brendan Murray.
New Perspective Theatre Company Tour to 1 June 2013.
Runs 2hr 35min One interval.
Review: Alan Geary 2 May at Lakeside Arts Centre Nottnigham.
A curate’s egg of an evening.
An earnest young country vicar, a vicar’s wife who doesn’t enjoy being a vicar’s wife, an officiously unchristian female churchwarden, a lonely widower with a sick dog; their un-cosy world is disturbed by a young tramp of the modern, good-looking variety who turns up in the village with nowhere to stay. It’s a promising premise
However, despite its many virtues, the promise of the piece is never quite realised. This is partly because at more than two and a half hours, it’s too long and partly because it’s too slow.
The main problem, though, is that it’s been done before – think Jerome K Jerome, think J B Priestley, et al. The mysterious stranger who arrives from nowhere, touches the lives of those he encounters so that they’re changed forever, then suddenly disappears isn’t simply the stuff of the Gospels: it’s almost a cliché.
But a multi-locational set is pleasing: a bench, an altar and a table and two chairs are all that’s necessary to suggest churchyard, church interior and vicarage kitchen. And the sound is nicely organised for these locations.
Above all though, it’s well cast and well acted. Paul Huntley-Thomas, with his glasses and floppy hair and the way he keeps trying to wring his hands, looks and sounds exactly like a C of E clergyman. Judith Faultless is terrific as wife Mel, failing to slot into the role that life has allotted her and desperate for a child. All the other characters are realistic, sharply delineated and entirely sympathetic.
In short, it’s a curate’s egg of an evening.
Sue: Beatrice Comins.
Mel Parr: Judith Faultless.
Reverend Stephen Parr: Paul Huntley-Thomas.
Kevin: William St Clair.
Jack: John Walters.
Director: Tilly Branson.
Designer: Juliet Shillingford.
Sound: Adam P McCready.
Lighting: Jeremy Rowe.
Composer: Chris Walters.