Quick tour around town

The innovative short tour of a Play, a Pie and a Pint run by Forfar Dramatic Society last week was a huge success with sell out performances in all three venues.

The capacity audiences were certainly entertained and very appreciative, not only of the variation of material performed, but also the standard achieved.

The opening night in the Osnaburg Lounge saw a performance of Two by Jim Cartwright.

The play, skilfully directed by Drew Barnett, fairly zipped along and the capacity audience engaged in the action from the outset.

The naturalistic setting and the close proximity of the action and audience only enhanced the experience and brought the characters closer to reality.

The play is set in a lively northern pub run by a married couple with a thorny relationship.

What follows is a series of short vignettes that skilfully combines pathos and humour.

The script is written for all fourteen characters to be played by two actors, however, this production used eight actors with some doubling.

Each of these characters was performed with a profound sympathy and there was both pathos and humour in all their stories.

At closing time a small boy enters, the catalyst who reveals the cause of the disharmony between the landlord and landlady.

The unveiling of the suppressed misery of losing their young son was the heartbreaking climax of the play and both Linda McLaren and Graham Hewitson were utterly believable in their desolation. The other characters were convincingly played by Leah Gow, Grahame Miller, Naomi Weir, Ewan Phillip, Lesley Fraser, Christopher Hewitson, Scott Heggie and Jed Davidson.

Laughs were definitely in abundance in Thursday night’s production of Whisky Galore.

Comedy, coupled with nostalgia, were the order of the day in Paul Godfrey’s adaptation from Compton MacKenzie’s novel of the same name.

This version of the war-time comedy is set in a post war BBC radio recording studio where we encounter the kind of actors who we heard in the 1940s and 50s.

The fun comes not only from the witty script, but is enhanced by the visual impact of seeing all the characters played by four actors.

But that is not all, as we must not forget the wonderful sight of the ‘narrator’ who doubles as the sound effects technician.

This role is integral to the play and Elaine McEwan was inspired in bringing a multitude of props together to realistically recreate some wonderful effects – especially the little doggie.

Christopher Hewitson, Graham Hewitson, Grahame Miller and, the larger than life, Sarah Phillips played the actors, resplendent in 1940’s evening dress as was the case for radio plays of the period.

The multitude of colourful characters portrayed were brought to life with the use of convincing accents in what was a very fast paced production.

The final night of the tour saw performances of Jerome K Jerome’s gentle comedy, Three Men in a Boat and Gus Kaikkonen’s American comedy of relationships, Potholes which were performed in the Vine and Monkey.

The rehearsed reading of Three Men in a boat, was convincingly read by Graham Hewitson, Christopher Hewitson and Drew Barnett and certainly conveyed the gentle pace of life on a Thames boat trip at the turn of the century by three ‘duffers’.

This was nicely contrasted by the cleverly understated and delightfully funny study of male-female relationships in Potholes.

Philip and Sophie Nibs, played by Christopher Hewitson and Laurie Wilson, are a young couple singled out by their friends for the apparent bliss of their marriage although they aren’t quite convinced themselves that their union is quite as idyllic as others may think.

While having coffee at a cafe they are joined by a friend, Leonard Joy (Ewan Phillip), who relates his inability to establish a solid, lasting relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Urged on by his friends, Leonard makes a halting approach toward a very attractive young lady, Debra Scattergood (Leah Gow), who is enjoying her newspaper at an adjacent table.

The play was directed by Ewan Phillip who drew convincing performances from all four actors.

This has been a highly successful and innovative tour by Forfar Dramatic Society and it is hoped that the Society may undertake similar ventures in future.