Our local NODA rep Judith came along to see 'It Runs in the Family', please read her review of the show...
Thank you for inviting me to this very funny farce which I thoroughly enjoyed. I really appreciated the fact that your FOH staff were all dressed as nurses and doctors - you are the only group I visit who dresses your hardworking team in keeping with your productions; it certainly adds to the audience’s anticipation.
I gather that a certain juggling with the casting had to happen less than a month before first night and I want to congratulate both Tom Everitt and your director Ritchard Tysoe for mastering their parts at comparatively short notice.
Ritchard you not only directed this well but understand the genre. Usually any problems amateur companies have with farce is centered on lack of pace. Not so in your case – you and your cast ensured that no one, whether on or off stage, slowed the action. The choreography involved in this was superb, especially the scenes involving drawing the curtains over the protagonists crawling along the window cill.
You had an excellent cast too which always helps; reading the bios I note that the majority are very experienced actors and I am sure that they encouraged your newer members to stretch themselves. All your timings were always spot on.
The set, designed and built by Dave Bowden, Martin Hailey, David Harnett and Ritchard Tysoe was excellent and lent itself well to Stewart Mason’s lighting which was particularly good illuminating the street outside the sash windows.
Wardrobe, Eve Berry and Tish Marshall, was good with the exception of the police sergeant’s gilet which looked too short as there was an awful lot of white shirt hanging out. Policemen I have seen don’t seem to have quite as much space between the top of the trousers and the bottom of the waistcoat. However, I know, as amateurs, we have to go with what we have, and it was such a minor matter for me to nitpick!
The Programme (Ritchard again) was well produced and a nice mention of NODA along with your well-earned NODA Awards.
Lannie Staff’s props were, as always, good and you had a lot to find this time I think. If you are also responsible for the set dressing, and this is always a grey area between set build and props, then a double congratulation as this was, in my view, spot on.
Tom Everitt as Dr David Mortimer was excellent. My only slight criticism Tom is that you were too young for the part – I think you were originally cast in the role that Ritchard took but perhaps the application of grey to your temples would have added the illusion of a few more years behind you. Ritchard not only directed but had to take on Tom’s original role of Dr Mike Connolly. You too were very good. I really liked the novel way your character reminded the audience to switch off their mobile phones too.
David’s wife Rosemary was well portrayed by Lisa Harnett. Your facial expressions were telling and the wicked look of glee on your face as you delivered the final line was very funny indeed.
Paul Brown, who played Dr Hubert Bonney, was really superb. At the outset you established yourself as a rather humourless individual but then you just went from strength to strength, revealing unexpected hidden depths and ‘improvising’ as the situation got more and more frenetic – even down to your singing.
Alison Hartnett’s Matron – stiff and starched until you managed to get injected with the tranquilizer at which point we saw your character change completely. Your exit, upside down in a wheelchair, was wonderful!
Nigel Bacon as Sir Willoughby Drake gave us an excellent portrayal of a pompous senior doctor who then became progressively, and very believably, drunk - finally staggering out of your office barely able to stand.
Lucy Evans as Jane Tate was another member of your cast who was always spot on with actions and reactions – your over-the-top sobbing was just right.
Valentine Ford as the Sister supported the action well and believably. I think this is your first appearance on stage with LEP in a play, isn’t it? I look forward to seeing you in future productions.
Josh Reed is another newcomer to a Lane End play and you took the part of Leslie very confidently. You have good stage presence, and your mood swings were well acted – and typical of a teenager too. I hope to see you too in LEP’s next show
Apart from the fact, already mentioned, that Peter Rose’s Policeman’s gilet/waistcoat was a tad too short, I thought you too played the part well. Your increasing exasperation as the doctors gave you the run around was believably portrayed.
Dave Boden played Bill, the wheelchair bound rather laid-back patient, very well and your face and actions added to our enjoyment. You always followed the plot with interest and you were bang on time with your interjections following any mention of the word ‘Hello’.
Eve Berry, Hubert Bonney’s mother, was an absolute delight in this small role. Your very expressive face displayed puzzlement, followed by an outpouring of love for your newly discovered ‘grandson’. Again, you always fully concentrated on the action.
I am looking forward to your pantomime in January – in the meantime, Happy Christmas to you all (it is only 8 weeks away!!)
Judith Watsham Regional Rep NODA London 11 and 11A