WOOLPIT VILLAGE HALL 18th 19th November 2006

How The Other Half Loves by Alan Ayckbourn was presented at Woolpit Village Hall by The Woolpit Drama Club.

The more I see of the work done by The Woolpit Drama Club, the more impressed I am; this is an amateur company with professional standards. I overheard two comments from members of the audience on Friday night: “ every bit as good, if not better than many professional companies” and “it is amazing what comes out of our village hall”.

So I rather feel like the judges in the BBC “Strictly Come Dancing”, and these are the marks I would award: The Play – 7 out of 10, Production – 8 out of 10, Presentation – 8 out of 10, Acting – 9 out of 10.

This is one of Ayckbourn’s early plays, and although set in the 70’s does come across as rather a dated piece of English theatre. Like all Ayckbourn’s plays it is a challenge to any director, when Ayckbourn juxtaposes both time and place on stage at the same moment, and Richard Stainer did a first class job.

Had the production time to settle down, ie after the only two performances, then I think that the cast would have been more confident and relaxed, and some of the longueurs would have been ironed out, enabling the play to move along at a faster pace.

Having said that the cast excelled themselves navigating the complicated set of the Fosters house and the Phillips house, all with well defined characters and getting all their laughs. With John Lintin, Gayle Wade, Sue Bishop, Paul Goffin, David Cook and Susan Richardson, they were “ all my favourites”.

Tom Rosen 20th November 2006

Click on pictures to see them individually.