Maskers Bassett Studioon
30th October to 3rd November 1973
|Miss Madrigal||Molly Manns|
|The little lady||Daphne Rothwell|
|The third lady||Elizabeth Harwood|
|Mrs. St. Maugham||Ann Archer|
|The Judge||Phillip de Grouchy|
|For the Maskers|
|Directed by||Roy Tabor|
|Stage Manager||Maureen Taylor|
|Production Assistant||Carol Pierce|
|Special Consultant||Judy Goddard|
|Stage Director||Keith Hooper|
|Hon. Secretary||Betty Riggs|
|Hon. Business Manager||John Paget|
Wise choice of a play is vital for an amateur society. All too often they hit on an unsuitable or hackneyed work. Not so The Maskers with their current production of Enid Bagnold's "The Chalk Garden" which they are presenting in their own theatre attached to the Bassett Inn, Burgess Road, Southampton this week.
It is an elegant and witty comedy, a contemporary of "Look Back in Anger" although its stylishness suggests an earlier era.
Director Roy Tabor has done the play in-the-round which is not the way I would have seen it at all. But in the intimate surroundings of the Maskers Theatre it works surprisingly well -- there is a distinct feeling of eavesdropping on the family. He is well served by the cast -- essential for in-the-round as the actors are completely cut off from wings and backcloth as drops.
Molly Manns as the mysterious Miss Madrigal generates the quiet intensity and the abstracted moods of a companion. And in the second act she slips convincingly into inebriation. An excellent performance. She is well matched by Ann Archer as the iron-willed Mrs St Maugham. Miss Archer, who must be considerably younger than the specified seventy years, ages well with good movements and mannerisms. She does not emphasise her charm, an easy pitfall, and the result is more telling.
Angela Dean is delightful in the difficult role of the 16-year old grand-daughter, not an easy age to capture. She has a good range of mood and expression. There is good support too from Geoffrey Wharam as the slightly effeminate manservant Maitland, but Philip de Grouchy is less successful as the Judge -- he does not make the jump to 75 successfully. The character is the least defined, the nearer to caricature, in the play.
- Jasmine Profit.