Reviews of 'Disposing of the Body'    

Reviews of 'Black Comedy' & 'Purvis'

Review by Ann Key-Huckerby, NODA

 

Black Comedy

Peter Shaffer's riotous farcical play was an excellent choice to accompany "Purvis" as a comedy double bill. Rob Nicholls' portrayal of Brindsley was notable with great timing and excellent facial expressions. The rest of the cast from the Colonel and the delightfully 'camp' Harold to the electrician and the millionaire Bamburger (who sounded remarkably alike) along with three ladies of varying types and ages all suited their characters admirably. Above all, they worked very well together and all the moves had been well rehearsed. The set was ingeniously designed with excellent choices of furniture. The all-important lighting was superb. All in all, it was hilariously funny and enjoyable to watch.

 

Purvis

Mr Purvis is recently widowed and on meeting the vicar's wife, Rachel, accepts the post of Health & Safety officer for the church. Peter Breach played the accident prone Purvis with infectious enthusiasm and energy along with meek demeanour. As Rachel, Arline Evenden gradually changed from down-trodden and insecure to self confident and assertive. A gentle comedy, this play was diverting and highly amusing. The props team deserve a pat on the back for their effieciency

 

Review by Philip Bosworth

 

Comedy comes in many forms as St Nicolas Players proved with their double bill production at the South Holland Centre.  

 

The first offering was “Purvis” by Nick Warburton. The eponymous character, played by Peter Breach, is a recently widowed attendee at the local Church. Rachel, the vicar’s wife, played by Arline Evenden, as an act of kindness appoints him as Health and Safety Officer. Purvis not wishing to offend accepts.  Then the problems begin. Purvis’ safety measures create accidents rather than prevent, and the usual victim is the vicar. Rachel is told to dismiss Purvis but they have developed a relationship where they now can hep each other and do things together. This play needed two first class actors who could get the best out of the gentle mostly verbal comedy and director Jo Dobbs should be more than happy with the result.

 

The main play, Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer, takes place during an electrical black-out with instructions from the author to play under a lighting system where the stage is dark when the lights are on and lit when the lights are cut off. I have never understood the reason for this. However it in no way detracts from the very funny script. Rob Nicholls played Brindsley Miller in a manner reminiscent of Brian Rix. He is a sculptor expecting a visit from a potential patron. Under pressure from his fiancé Carol Melkett (Victoria Bunting, the best dumb Sloane I have seen for a long time) they have “borrowed” some fine furniture from next door to impress the patron and her father Colonel Melkett whose clipped vowels and barked opinions were very well provided by Jed Laxton.  

 

Miss Furnival, (Beverly Moore) is very nervous in the dark and has come from the flat above for reassurance. She provided a super example of a spinster getting drunk for the first time when the drinks are mixed up in the dark. Harold, the neighbour, played with more camp than Butlins, by Nick Fletcher, returns, finds his things have been borrowed and reacts accordingly. 

 

Any good farce must have an emotional triangle. In this case Clea the former long term girlfriend played by Rebecca Jones, again proving her abilities as a comedienne as she created mayhem in the darkened flat. The obligatory mistaken identity was provided between the John Blundell, superbly downbeat as Shuppanzigh an Electricity Board worker of German origin and Bamburger the German patron played by George Ogden who in the last three St Nic’s productions has become the master of the scene stealing cameo role.

 

The production was slick throughout and for first time Director Troy Melvin there should be a great feeling of achievement and satisfaction in a job well done by any standards.

 

Philip Bosworth

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St Nicolas Players 

are affiliated to NODA