Reviews of 'Disposing of the Body'
Reviews of 'Murder in the Cathedral'
Review by Charlotte Graper, Act II Theatre Company for The Spalding Guardian
Gedney Church - not the usual venue for a piece of amateur dramatics but that's what appealed to me. I love to see theatre (and it's audience) taken out of it's comfort zone, and that is what made this St Nicolas Players production special. Murder In The Cathedral by T S Eliot is the story of Thomas Beckett's final days before his murder in Canterbury Cathedral. It addresses the inner turmoil he faced whwn drawing ever closer to martyrdom.
The venue was atypical and challenged the expectations of a theatre goer. It felt somewhat eerie, particularly with the rain outside which served to add to the sense of unease. Perhaps the space could have been used slightly more to their advantage; exploring the staging possibilitiesthat a venue with so many darkened corners and pillars to hide behind offers. Having said this, the scene in which Beckett was murdered was powerfully staged in silhouette behind a red screen: a beautiful piece of framing, which seemed to freeze the moment in time, an effect echoed in the play as a whole.
All performances were assured, led by a confident Troy Melvin as the Archbishop. His delivery of the Christmas day sermon showed a performer comfortable in holding the stage on his own. The four Tempters clearly relished their roles which was great to see, all individual yet united in their common cause. When the Knights entered they added a new dimension, and almost a sense of comic relief after the brutality of the murder scene. I particularly liked Martin Tyrrell who gave a very natural delivery, one to watch for the future.
Finally, I must make mention of the exquisite costumes which placed it firmly in 1170. A lot of time and effort had clearly gone into these and it was wholeheartedly worth it. They captured both the temporal and the spatial setting and I am sure played their part in bringing the best out of those who were wearing them.
I applaud Philip Bosworth and St Nicolas Players for choosing an unusual play, setting themselves the challenge of a touring production (the two other performances were at Gosberton Church and Spalding Parish Church), performing a play in verse and selling it to the masses. I think they achieved all they set out to do and more; they should all be very proud. I wish more amateur dramatic societies were as brave as them and I certainly look forward to their next production.
Review by Ann Key-Huckerby, NODA
There was much to applaud in the TS Eliot masterpiece. The church at Gosberton provided an excellent background for the action and the use of a "window" to depict the final demise of Thomas Beckett was clever indeed.
I appreciate it's hard to get the sound levels right in such circumstances; in the second half things were much better. No doubt it was first night nerves that accounted for prompts being needed.
I felt the Women of Canterbury were moved unnecessarily causing some valuable lines to be lost. Having said this, the evening was memorable and truly interesting with powerful characterisations from the Four Tempters, Beckett's three priests and the four Knghts. Troy Melvin was masterly as Thomas; his Christmas day sermon was really impressive. The costumes were very suitable, and the lighting was dramatic. It was the first time I had seen this play, I would not have missed it for anything!