21 May 2013
Henry Hobson is a funny old character; boot shop owner, father of three daughters, and lover of way too many pints down the local.
He likes to think he rules the roost at home, but his grown up children are wise to him and his ways.
He is getting to the stage in his life, where he wants to marry off Alice and Vikey. The third, Maggie, in his eyes is way too past it (even at the age of 30).
Maggie is shocked to find this out so sets her sights on Will Mossop, Hobson's best boot maker. Will is ever so shy and timid but also very unwilling. Maggie can not only see a marriage partner, but also a business partner to get away from her fathers grip.
When things start to go wrong health wise for Hobson, who will come to the rescue? Will the family bond and rise to the occasion.
The stage setting of a grubby Victorian boot shop, told the story that Hobson liked to keep his money for things other than show. His often venture to the public house for one.
Frank Ditchburn, was very good as the snobby Hobson, looking down his nose at everybody, especially his kids. His one upmanship towards Maggie and Mossop was skillfully executed. In the latter scenes when he played out a very needy character because of his drinking problems, he did so with great humour and style.
Corinne Kilvington, playing Maggie was superb as she stood her ground with her father. Her presence on stage was massive. The amount of dialogue that she had to learn came over very well, well presented!
Ian Reah, playing Mossop, was highlight of the night for me. The changing between the shy, to the confidence of his character won over the audience big style. His acting, especially when it came to confronting his father in law...and the wedding night nerves, was a joy to see.
The rest of the cast supported well, but with it being opening night, the nerves definitely got in the way, it didn't really flow or gel very well in parts, and unfortunately this lead to quite a few lines being prompted.
This spoiled it for me as I lost some confidence in the actors and the show as a whole.
I am hoping that the rest of the run will be better than the start, as this classic play deserves a better input, and that The Westovians reputation as being one of the better smaller theatre companies in the region, will remain intact.
Lighting setup by Gareth Hunter was to a great standard, nicely done.
Directed by Denver Codling and produced by Val Codling.
Hobson's Choice is playing until Saturday 25th May