17 April 2013
The People's Theatre have a great history of popping on plays that have courted a tadge of controversy.
This time around it is the turn of Frank Marcus's The Kiliing Of Sister George, originally debuted in London in the late 60's, a time when possibly lots of risque material was airing to the public.
This tale is a two tone affair, dealing with working, and the very private, behind the doors, relationships.
Sister George is the flamboyant main star and attraction of The Beeb's top Radio Play, but her mainstay is under threat from the top bosses who want a big upping of the audience figures by creating a headline making mark on the show.
June Buckridge who plays George (Dolores Porretta Brown) is distraught at the thought and takes her worry home. Home is shared with her lesbian lover Alice 'Childie' McNaught, a rather timid and frightened mouse, totally in the opposite fields of personality to her lover.
June's behaviour at work is very PC and professional, but behind the closed doors of her Devonshire Street flat in London, she is the bully and the manipulator that nobody else sees and the much stronger of the two by miles.
Things certainly are not right between them, with Alice having to walk on eggshells and certainly having to watch her p's and q's around June, however love is in the eye of the beholder and she pulls in all the support she can muster up to help June in this uncertain time.
Still the bullying continues on a scale that Alice confides in Mrs Mercy Croft (Kate Wilkins), the head of BBC Radio, who tells tales of beatings and cruelness towards her.
In the background is kindly friendly neighbour Madame Xenia (Helga McNeil) who in her day job as a Spiritualist, probably knows a lot more about her friends then she is letting on, but she comes up to the mark on the helping out situation.
When the call comes with the news of the death of George, and the writing out of the radio series, things turn ugly at home with friendships and relationships torn and tattered.
This play has it all in the psychology department to get to grips with, the two faced attitude of George playing the crumbling hero at work but the totally opposite type of hero at home. I have seen Dolores in a few things and witnessed some of her work behind the scenes, but I cant remember her ever being this good. She was gritty as she battled with all that her character wanted out of her, really really good.
Penny again I have seen before, and as my memory tells me she has totally maintained the fantastic level that befits her. A fantastic airing, the love and affection that she showed to her lover shone through, you just wanted to give her a big hug.
Kate as the almost Mrs Bucket like character of stiff upper lipped Britishness, was very good in her role as boss of June, and friend of the frightened Alice. Her interactions with all on stage was a pleasure to see.
Helga was a total joy, if the play in character was a bit upright and nervous, then her part of Madame Xenia brought a laugh and a bit more craziness to the table. She can read my cards anytime!
Directed by Clive Hilton
This was a really good play, with fantastic acting all around, that had drama and a few laughs, but a few thoughtful laughs.
Playing until Sat 20th April.