Kindly Leave The Stage
18 September 2012
The Royalty is my local amateur theatre and I am more than a little ashamed to admit that until tonight I had never set foot inside it. A light-hearted comedy was the lure that finally enticed me across it's threshold. First impressions count for a lot – staff obviously spotted that we were newcomers to the theatre and they made us feel very welcome.
And so to the play - it opens with a couple calmly eating, while an argument takes place off stage. Charles and Madge (Scott Henderson and Anna Snell) have been invited to dinner by Rupert and Sarah (Paul Dunn and Abbi Newton). Unfortunately Rupert has just discovered that Sarah has been having an affair. What he doesn’t yet know is that Charles is the other man. The situation is made worse by the unexpected arrival of Sarah’s mother, (delightfully played by Irene Lathan) and father (Chris Young).
Just as the audience is settling down to enjoy the awkwardness of the whole situation, a new twist is introduced.
Kindly Leave The Stage is actually a play within a play and there are even more affairs going on in the actors’ own lives. Comedy ensues as the “play” disintegrates and the actors begin to verbally attack each other, and physical violence is threatened. One actor however is left in the dark about the situation. Edward, (a whisky soaked ageing Shakespearean actor, who just happens to have invited his new agent along to watch the show) enters on cue and acts his part oblivious to the fact that life has taken over from art.
So that’s the plot. It has all the ingredients, as the programme says, of a good 1970s sit-com. It is a well written, funny play and I would love to be able to say that it was brilliantly performed, but sadly, it was not, quite. I think each one of the cast had moments when they shone – a well delivered line, a knowing look, a carefully staged gesture, but there were a few too many missed lines, and the prompting really shouldn’t have been loud enough for the audience to hear. Notable performances came from Irene Lathan and Paul Dunn, and I did wonder whether Edward was drinking real whisky from that bottle, so convincing was his drunken entrance. On the whole, I’d say they were short by about a week’s worth of rehearsals, so by the end of the week they may well have clinched it.
Go along and support your local theatre. Kindly Leave The Stage is as least as entertaining as X-Factor, and costs less than a night in the pub!
Kindly Leave the Stage runs until the 22nd Sept.