Season’s Greetings | 2nd – 7th December 2013

Seasons Greetings poster QRBy Alan Ayckbourn. Directed by Paul Marshall.

Enjoy watching family and friends celebrate Christmas for the umpteenth consecutive year.

Except not all is peace and harmony as the cracks quickly start to emerge.

Featuring the annual, excruciating, puppet show, drunken snakes and ladders, the rifling of Christmas presents – and that’s just the start.

Join us for this comedy. The perfect way to start Christmas!

The cast:

Season's Greetings CastCastCrew - e12 1156s

Season's Greetings cast

More photos below.

Clive                       Robert Hall
Harvey                  Del Stone
Pattie                     Alice London
Neville                   Peter Atkinson
Belinda                   Jackie Dowse
Phyllis                    Simone Thorn
Bernard                 Mark Storey
Rachel                    Sanchia Leddy
Eddie                     Geoff Dillon

Director                                        Paul Marshall
Stage Director                             John Heather
Set design & decor                      Adrian Pope
Lighting Designer                       Andrew Herbert
Sound Designer                           Ian James
Set construction                          John Heather & T62 crew
Puppet Theatre design              Ray Harris
Puppet Theatre construction   Andrew Heather
Puppet Maker                             Jackie Dowse
Special Effects                             Andrew Heather
Stage Manager                            Sally Guttridge
Asst Stage Manager                   Ann Herbert
Stage Crew                                  Hazel Imber, Hayley Norton
Technical Assts                           Jon Lewis, Danny McIIhiney, James Quinn
Props                                            Sally Guttridge, Ann Herbert
Wardrobe                                    Joan Martin, Ellie Garcia, Hazel Hall, Valerie Polydorou, Diana Quinn
Prompt                                         Margaret Uzzell

House Manager                           John Heather
Refreshments                              Audrey Knighton
Raffle                                            Heather London
Box Office                                    Nina James
Poster/Programme Editor        Graham Copeland
Programme Editor                      John Guttridge

Croydon Advertiser review by Peter Steptoe:

“Alan Ayckbourn wrote more than one play about Christmas and I have always had some reservations about this one, though in fairness it does contain great comic moments. His writing is not as witty as Coward’s but his observations on middle class angst are both accurate and funny.

There are three married couples in this dysfunctional household with two other relatives and a guest who is a one book author. Belinda (Jackie Dowse) is the frustrated housewife, whose chief recreation seems to be decorating the Christmas tree and has a shed occupying husband devoted to repairing things that go wrong. Peter Atkinson as husband Neville gave the part the absentmindedness it required, yet indicated he could be ruthless in business. Belinda got the hots for the visiting author Clive (Robert Hall) and the comic seduction scene was beautifully played, ably assisted by the subdued lighting which reduced any disparity in the ages.

Harvey, uncle to Neville and Belinda, had many of the comic lines and was still relevant today as the type of person who takes the law into his own hands. It was a shock to eventually realise how cruel he was and Del Stone made the most of him. His chief victim was the incompetent doctor Bernard played by Mark Storey as a sort of male spinster. He seemed to have the face to go with it, together with the ability to time a comic line. His scene showing his incompetence with his puppet show was masterly and he was assisted in this by the very pregnant Pattie (Alice London) whose own incompetence had been carefully rehearsed.

Director Paul Marshall kept a smart pace with the entrances and exits well timed and the cast’s ensemble playing excellent. I am not sure whether Ayckbourn became uncertain with his less attractive characters because it was essential that we did not dislike them. Phyllis (Simone Thorne) the Doctor’s wife did not seem to accord with his description of her before she appeared, incompetent off yet assertive when on.  Rachel, (Sanchia Leddy) Belinda’s unmarried sister was definitely neurotic and as Clive’s secretary wished to become involved.  Eddie (Geoff Dillon) as one of life’s failures came across as quite uncaring with regard to his pregnant wife yet his inadequacy failed to ignite our sympathy. Clive the author was like the curate’s egg, good in parts. It was a difficult part to play and to be shot at the end and declared dead by the incompetent doctor was trouble enough for anyone.

The ending I have often wondered about; was it because Ayckbourn had run out of ideas? The ending on dimmuendo was in complete contrast to the climatic frenzy of the interval break.

I did, however, enjoy the performance, and it reflected great credit on Theatre 62.”Season's Greetings Dec 2013Season's Greetings Dec 2013Season's Greetings in rehearsalCurtain Call