Reviews of 'Disposing of the Body'    

Reviews of Old Actors Never Die

This was my first visit to the South Holland Centre for over 4 years and I was offered a warm welcome, collected my pre-booked ticket and really enjoyed the entire evening. Not just the wonderful performance, but I also appreciated the kindness and help from both the stewards and the bar staff.

 

Director Jules Jones’ production was as bright and entertaining as the lady herself, with imaginative use of a cast who brought each character to life particularly well. Each of the company brought a personality and depth of character which gave the excellent and very funny script, by Lynn Brittney, a full three dimensions and made it an immersive experience. I appreciated the elegant way the play was staged - no curtains, very few moments of empty stage, and with incidental music and use of light to donate the changing of time and day. At first I wasn’t sure if the play had started as several actors busseled on to the set, whilst the house lights were on, but I then realised the characters were warming us up to the action. Very clever.

 

Jed Laxton was in the role of 'confirmed bachelor' Walter Neville, as he began an eventful first few days at the home for retired actors run by the scatty owner Ann Thompson, played by Arline Evenden, who is also Chair of St Nicolas Players.

 

The story, for the uninitiated, is a comedy centering  around love-rat actor Edmund Sullivan, an oily ladies’ man, played artfully by Michael Barron who beautifully delivered every line and facial expression with aplomb. I’ll never forget the traveling moustache! Edmund, who has a string of lovers and three ex-wives who were wonderfully and diversely executed by Bev Moore [Phyllida], Mandie Collier [Jules] and Natalie Mills [Rebecca]. A fabulous threesome, whose interaction was so believable that they were characters I wanted to get to know.

 

Ed is in all manner of trouble after eschewing the affections of the mother of Russian mafia principal Mike Molinsky, convincingly played by Nick Fletcher – he was very funny, and both evil and psychotic by turn.  Nick was supported by Steph Genovese, who played the silent but clearly deadly Dimitri alongside Matilda Hoyles-Simpson as a blond bombshell -  yet severely convincing as Irina,  a Soviet dominatrix.

 

Confusion and chaos abound as all of the staff and residents of the home -  including the effervescent housekeeper Marcia, superbly played by Linda Smith, and the recently widowed masochist Danny Stiller, portrayed by the clearly gifted comic Nigel L Hancocks, get drawn in to the farcical plot of framing Ed for the fictitious murder of Mrs Molinsky -  only to discover that she has eloped with a Mexican gardener in Las Vegas!

 

This was an evening of perfectly conveyed British comedy  performed by a community theatre company. I loved the set, designed by Ms Jones and built by Arline Evenden and Steve Underwood, I felt I was almost sitting in the room. The costumes were stunning, the sumptuousness, the sparkle and colour were just right for the bit part jobbing actresses. Talking of sparkle, just as Act 2 got going The Pinchbeck Tappers, playing various residents rehearsing for auditions, did a superb tap dance routine to the 42nd Street show theme. Such energy on stage - I wasn’t sure if they were young actresses made up to look older or extremely talented and dedicated seniors. The sight of Mrs T, played by the very talented Anne Temple, launching herself exhausted over a chair and onto a sofa at the end had me worried for a moment, but of course she recovered - laughing along with the rest of the audience. Her small, yet very significant walk-on's throughout the performance were hilarious.

 

One final tribute to a fabulous sight gag.  A large seemingly heavy trunk was moved on stage by stage hands Janet Staples and Gill Adlard.  Later Irina picks it up and almost runs off stage.  The whole show was scattered with funny moments and asides which kept us all spell bound for over 2 hours. A fun evening and well worth the fee of £10 (concessional rate).  Review by Meryl Finlay

Last night I had the privilege and pleasure of seeing this highly amusing play. (Dress rehearsal)

Directed by Jules Jones and produced by Joanna Hobbs, St Nics latest production is set in a home for the elderly like no other - The Mount Home for retired actors which is run by Ann Thompson, played by the delightful Arline Evenden. The story centres around womanising actor, Edmund, convincingly portrayed by Mike Barron, who is on the run from Russian Gangsters. Ed’s ex-wives, wonderfully played by Bev Moore (Phyl), Mandie Collier (Jules) and Natalie Mills (Becca) decide they need to try to save him from mafia principal Mike Molinsky, menacingly acted by Nick Fletcher and supported by Steph Genovese, who plays the silent but deadly Dimitri.

Residing with them in the home and caught up in the confusion and chaos are Walter Neville, a small part veteran of hundreds of films, brought to life by talented actor Jed Laxton, and Danny Stiller, a recently widowed masochist, played with both warmth and humour by Nigel Hancocks. The home’s sweet worker Marcia, played by Linda Smith, is replaced suddenly by Matilda Hoyles-Simpson who is highly believable as Irina, a Russian dominatrix.

Not forgetting some of the funniest moments delivered subtlety by Anne Temple as the batty Mrs T.

The set is simple yet highly effective and the Crew have done an amazing job of bringing everything together behind the scenes.

Old Actors Never Die, They Simply Lose The Plot is a truly daft journey of farce and comedy that everyone can enjoy.

Jodie Schweikhardt

NODA SHOW REPORT

St Nicolas Players are to be congratulated for choosing to perform this play and appointing Jules Jones to direct it, for the result of their combined endeavours was the faultless delivery of a cracking farce written by Lynn Brittney. On entering the auditorium, with the curtains drawn back, the audience had sight of the large stage space on which was constructed a great set, beautifully designed by Jules and furnished so that it looked more like a country house hotel than a home for the elderly. (I can verify that such homes do exist in the “real world” for I have been visiting a relative who has been resident in such an establishment for a number of years!) There was much attention to detail in this set including fresh floral displays of orchids (cymbidiums). 

The three former wives of Edmund Sullivan, exquisitely played by Bev Moore (as Phyl), Mandie Collier (as Jules)  and Natalie Mills (as Becca) all gave superb performances, residing comfortably in this home for Retired Theatricals with Edmund paying their bills whilst he continued his philandering elsewhere. These fascinating ladies were pleased to welcome into their midst, as a prospective resident, their old friend Walter Neville (played by the versatile Jed Laxton) – a supposedly gay veteran of 212 film appearances and a confirmed bachelor.

Life was proceeding at a sedate pace and after the interval members of The Pinchbeck Tappers “rehearsed” a lively and entertaining tap routine. After this a somewhat strange raincoat-wearing male with an obviously false ‘stick-on moustache’ and a dodgy French accent appeared on the scene – although this individual gave his name as George Faberge there was more of a likeness to the famous Inspector Clouseau; however, it was none other than Edmund Sullivan (played by Michael Barron). Sullivan had resorted to the disguise as he was being sought by Mike Molinsky (convincingly played by Nick Fletcher), a member of the Russian mafia, accompanied by Dmitri, his minder, (menacingly played by Steph Genovese) and Irina (played by Matilda Hoyles-Simpson) a dominatrix with designs on the grief stricken widower Danny Stiller (played by Nigel L Hancocks).  Molinsky believes Sullivan responsible for besmirching his mother’s reputation and murdering her, thus he intends to kill him - but when he learns that his mother is alive and has eloped with a Mexican gardener in Las Vegas, this will no longer be necessary so the Russians can return from whence they came.

This was a great show with supporting roles provided by Arline Evenden (as Anne Thompson), Linda Smith (as Marcia Jones) and Anne Temple (as Mrs T). There was clever characterisation and classy costumes; all those involved in this production deserve praise for their contributions. Well done!

Peter Breach

Many congratulations to you all for “Old Actors Never Die”. Cilla and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and came away chuckling. A highlight of the evening (without wishing to cast aspersions on anyone else) was the tap dance routine at the start of act 2 - sheer genius! With so much talent we can’t understand why the audience wasn’t packed. (You shoul) feel really proud of your achievements.
Break a leg
David and Cilla Dorey

Saw this play tonight (Saurday), was brilliant. The set was outstanding and the acting was professional quality, the play was funny throughout putting all this together made this even better than performances I have seen in the West End. Well done everyone who was involved in this. Chris Mills

Just got home after seeing Old Actors Never Die. (FRiday)

Congratulations for all involved. Great directing and an obviously talented cast made for a great nights entertainment. I do feel Anne Temple really stole the show without speaking a single line, great physical comedy. And I loved Mandie Collier in her role. Having said that I would not wish to single anyone out from such a great cast.  The people sitting next to us were talking about your next show "Brassed Off" and already talking about booking tickets as well as joining the society.  Well done for a great play.  Andrew Rudd

Over the last few months I've had the pleasure of working with some amazingly talented individuals. Last night brought the end of several months rehearsing and the show to a close.  Massive thanks to the lovely Natalie Mills for suggesting me for a particular part, and Jules our fantastic director for having the confidence to cast me, and the fantastic crew and of course the brilliant cast. Thank you all :-) x

I just also wanted to add that all I've have done in my career has been TV and Movies and this was my first ever stage show - and they made this experience a fantastic one for me with kindness and generosity of knowledge.  Steph Genovese

Mrs T was brilliant! A very well directed show. Suzzanne Web

Well done for a great performance tonight of "Old Actors Never Die..."
Thoroughly enjoyed it and was full of laughs with some great comedy. Hope you all have a fabulous last night!  Paul B Coleman

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