Reviewed by: Joyce Handbury on 29 June 2012
Venue: The Srutt Centre, Belper
Type of Production: Play
Producer/Director: Sara Noble-Nesbitt
J.B. Priestly wrote this, his first play, in a week and it is the eightieth anniversary of its premiere. The seating was arranged either side of the performing area which had been transformed into the drawing room of Robert and Freda Caplan who are entertaining Robert’s business partners and their wives along with crime novelist Miss Mockridge. They are listening to a radio play and when it ends, cigarettes are handed round in a musical cigarette box. A seemingly innocent remark opens a can of worms and we soon are inveigled into a web of intrigue, lies, theft, betrayal and repressed passions. Being so close to the performers as I was, I became totally involved and virtually felt as if I were part of the action. The actors: Adela Green and Stephen Lee Rees (Freda and Robert Caplan), Chelsea Richter and Tom Makinson (Betty and Gordon Whitehouse), Sheila Kay Sly (Olwen Peel) and Dan Skidmore (Charles Stanton) all maintained total focus portraying their differing characters superbly with thoughtful interpretation and each adding their accomplished performance to make the whole ensemble work so well. Completing the cast was Maggie Burns as the novelist Miss Mockeridge who leaves the stage before the plot starts to unravel. I applaud the whole cast on their fine performances and congratulations must go to everyone involved especially Sara Noble-Nesbitt, making her directing debut, for producing a play to such a high standard that was gripping from start to finish.