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in Northampton since 1932

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Entertaining Angels
by Richard Everett

Tue 12 - Sat 16 March 2013 at 7.30pm
Moulton Theatre, Cross Street, Moulton Map >

Production No. 396

Maggie Holland, director

The story revolves around one family. Bardolph, the local vicar, is dead, and his widow, daughter and sister in law are left to make sense of a life that was not quite as straight forward as they thought.

Assisted by the new "lady of the vicarage" who definitely needs to brush up on her pastoral skills and tact, they unravel a web of long hidden secrets, with twists and turns and new revelations throughout.

Entertaining Angels is set in the Vicarage garden, and I am looking forward to seeing the shed/greenhouse that Derek Banyard is going to create with his usual fantastic set building skills.

The set building will be assisted by the Moulton Players in-house team, and they will also help Peter Collins in his first foray into the woderful world of sound and light.

The small cast of Liz Allan, Pauline Sawford, Anita Gayton, Laura Paterson and Tony Butcher are already gelling well together, assisted by such diverse team building activities as pushing Pauline's car up a hill of ice to the more surreal rehearsal extract performed in EastEnders accents!

The play is described as an English comedy, and our only concern at this stage of concentrating on the emotions of the characters was that there was no comedy, but Pat Groves, our prompt, and Laura Haynes, one of the stage managers, watching at their first rehearsal laughed quite a lot!

To complete the name-check, Laura will be assisted in her stage management role by Bernie Woods.

This is the second play I have directed for Masque, and those of you who saw my previous offering, Closer, can rest assured that the language in this is much more genteel...well most of the time, but who could be offended by lines such as ".. and you can bugger off to Bogner!"

A feather

Cast & Crew

Grace Elizabeth Allan
Anita Gayton
Ruth Pauline Sawford
Jo Laura Paterson
Bardolph Tony Butcher

Maggie Holland
Stage Management Laura Haynes, Bernie Wood
Sound & Lighting Peter Collins
Assisted by Tony White, Max Howse, Lee Winston
Prompt Pay Groves
Set Derek Banyard
Publicity Kirsty Spence
Print & Programme Design Tamsyn Payne
Photography Joe Brown
Box Office Masque Theatre members
Bar & Fire Officers Moulton Theatre members

Emily Bale, Masque Theatre member

It is hard to define Entertaining Angels. It was a tale of grief, regret, lack of communication within a family, and buried secrets surfacing too late. A tragicomedy that relied more on its exploration of complex emotions than it did on humour. However, the comedy was sprinkled frequently enough to keep the audience laughing despite the morose themes being explored. The dialogue was fast and witty and the cast did a good job of keeping up its bouncy pace.

Elizabeth Allan in particular had a difficult job with the complex character of Grace. She gave the role a dignity that although humorous was also serious enough for the audience to really believe in the character.

The rest of the cast also fitted the tone of the play and the acting remained subtle and convincing. Newcomer Tony Butcher, as the gentle Bardolf, rose to the challenge well. Pauline Sawford played Ruth, Grace's eccentric missionary sister, Laura Paterson as the daughter Jo and Anita Gayton as the new vicar Sarah.

The set and sound effects were used very well. Of particular note was the river which employed real water, so you could see the wetness of a character’s hand after they dipped in. Small things like this help add to the realism of the piece.

The timing of the acts was nicely paced with the story feeling like it was well wrapped up in the final act. All of the characters had something to reveal about themselves and the cast exposed their secrets with a respect for the people they were portraying.

Although the play would be difficult to define it was presented in a way that made it simultaneously amusing whilst giving you some food for thought.



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