Ladies In Lavender
GTC in ‘Ladies in Lavender’, a most pleasurable evening.
The settings very clever and appropriate and good period, dressings excellent: the split main stage worked well for bedroom and living room, and the side stages for beach and garden meant no disturbance in action for scene changes so that the play flowed. Costumes and props worked (except for the very modern violin case which grated, surely an older version could have been borrowed?)
We have all seen the film and how difficult to follow that but the casting worked well with the two leads really making their characters speak: Lyn Waterfield as Janet definitely the more domineering sister and more experienced but the newcomer to GTC Deb Harris as Ursula sympathetic and empathetic to the boy and letting her feelings overcome her. Their relationship as two sisters sharing house and lives bonded well in a balance cast and provided a gentle style of period living to set off their conversations. These two really did manage those huge roles to great ability.
As Dorcas, Sue Newstead had a dream of a role to develop, almost running the house and influencing situations, her timing excellent throughout, interesting that ‘the maid’ often has such a dominant part in these domestic situations.
Experience as a character role, John Woods as Dr Mead was ideal in his dealing with both the ladies and the boy, a lovely warm person, also was he really falling for the lovely Olga? And as Olga, Laraine Gooch came over as bohemian and artistic and yet determined in her quest to put the boy on the right road through her brother’s influence.
What a joy to get the right age and style and experience through Dusmagrik onwards for Bradley Mercer to play the part of Marowski, rescued and cared for, responding to the ladies particularly Ursula, and showing his talents in acting the undiscovered musician, a very sympathetic interpretation
A lot of skilled technical input from Ed Blankley on sound with all those mood enhancing musical interludes, I did ask you about whether in script as to what scores used. Also lighting those different acting areas on time kept Dan Coates busy.
Altogether a relaxing and interesting evening at the play and pleased that the support was good.
Sue du Pont
Gorleston Theatre Company, ‘Ladies In Lavender’. Pavilion Theatre, 20thth Oct 2018.
Director, Jeanie Kinkaid. Producer, Terry Wing (for GTC)
Good to see another play presented at the iconic Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. GTC excelled last year with ‘Cash On Delivery’ and there can be no more contrasting content than that offered by the gentle almost soporific scripted content than that presented by ‘Ladies in Lavender’. The whole scene on stage is portrayed by a cleverly devised ‘split’ set to capture the need to transfer the action from Cornish cottage sitting room to bedroom. The set was well constructed to allow a seamless movement from room to room, each carefully ‘dressed’ to suit the location…add to this the particularly well depicted use of the raised front of tabs podiums to convey the outdoor scenes for beach and garden…The setting was important to the film of the same name and here we had an excellent recreation of the environment in which this gentle but intriguing story unfolds.
The characters were well cast and showed the appropriate sense of, shall we say excitement, at the unexpected arrival of a stranger on the shoreline…was he alive or dead? Soon answered, as the sisters Janet Widdington (Lyn Waterfield) and Ursula (Deb Harris) ‘rescued’ and took care of him in their spare bedroom. They portrayed and lived a humble and secluded life in a remote part of Cornwall and it seemed at first that they showed no more than a caring humanitarian desire to restore him to full health. They shared their home with a housemaid Dorcas (Sue Newstead) who added a nice touch of humour to the proceedings. They were assisted by Dr Mead (John Woods) who visited and gave the basic medical attention and advice without any particular drama ! Now the sisters were torn it seems by their feminine instincts and, although it took some time, Ursula began to show her interest as just a tad more than Janet would expect, or indeed understand! This gentle change was well conveyed over time… Perhaps there could have been a tad more conflict here? But no matter, they grew very fond of their charge Andrea Marowski (Bradley Mercer), who immaculately portrayed the ‘lost’ and bewildered foreign (Polish it seems) ‘alien’ to their home. His was a role which in Act 2, brought the play to life with a nicely underplayed moment as he reveals his talents for violin playing and aspirations of making a living in America. A coincidental meeting with Olga Danilof (Laraine Gooch) was to change the outcome of this story as by chance she turned out to be the sister of a famous concert violinist Boris Danilof. She matched the mood of the piece and showed just the right level of concern and interest in Andrea. Now the sisters were faced with the truth, and their attempts, especially by Ursula, to continue his stay with them were clearly exposed.
Andreas’ dramatic unexpected departure and consequent radio concert performance brought a very satisfactory ending to this, and I say again, gentle piece, of a simple tale, and the effect that something out of the ordinary mundane lifestyle can bring! A well considered performance by all concerned, and good to see something with a personal deep emotional exploration of the human psyche. Well done!
Review by: Terry Rymer (NODA Rep East Dist 6)