The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company have been touring their autumn show Love Triangle 2 to villages, culminating in a run at Hungerford’s Royal British Legion last weekend.
These three very different plays share the themes of love and relationships. The evening began with John Mortimer’s funny Lunch Hour. It’s set in a 1960’s guesthouse that’s seen better days with peeling wallpaper and a temperamental gas fire in the bedroom.
Married wallpaper executive (Neil Padgen) has booked the room for an hour during lunchtime, although he had to pay for the full day, in order to have an illicit assignation with the younger recent graduate (Roushka Westall) who he is besotted with. In order to avoid any scandal he has convinced the Manageress (Tessa Brown) that he is in fact meeting his wife who has travelled down from Scarborough to discuss in private some very important matters.
Their ‘liaison dangerous’ is constantly interrupted by the manageress, who asks about the children and her journey much to the consternation of the man and the bewilderment of the woman. As the web of lies continues the woman becomes embroiled in the whole fantasy that the man has created with hilarious results as they work through the imaginary world they have created.
The actors created believable characters in this surreal play that was ably directed by David Clayton who also directed Alan Ayckbourn’s clever comic Countdown. This short play explores the relationship between an aged married couple who have long ago stopped listening to each other. They repeat their evening routine of sharing a cup of tea together. The husband confidently played by Neil Padgen is reading his paper and dreams of having a motor mower and grumbles about having to collect the tray from the kitchen as usual and goes off to get it. In the mean time the wife beautifully portrayed by Tessa Brown enters with the tray and the frustrations and peculiarities of the couple are revealed.
Such a mundane situation is vividly brought to life as they speak directly to the audience sharing their true thoughts of how they feel about each other while maintaining pleasantries. It is a bittersweet play that while exceedingly funny has a poignant message about old age.
By contrast The Youth Theatre provided the last play, Sarah Ruhl’s adaption of the Greek tragic tale of Eurydice. The shy book loving Eurydice (Rebekah Spencer) falls in love with the ethereal musician Orpheus (Chris Nilsson) but on her wedding day she is enticed by the Nasty Interesting Man (Barber-Milson) to join him and dies and is transported to the underworld. Eurydice now played by Caitlyn Gregory meets her dead father, a sensitive performance from George Evans, who builds a forbidden room for her in the land of the dead much to the annoyance of the tricycle riding tyrannical Lord of the Underworld. Orpheus is desperate to communicate with his love and rescue her from her situation that leads to a disastrous result.
There is excellent support from a strong ensemble who play the ever-constant stones with stylised movement. This is a challenging play that the young company embraced with confidence and aplomb.Hoffi Munt’s assured direction keeps the pace moving but at a running time of 90 minutes some judicious editing would have perhaps created a tighter production that reflected the total evening’s programme.
This was a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment that was well received by the appreciative audience.
If the Living Art Hungerford gallery were a band, curator Justin Cook would have cited “artistic differences” as the reason for his departure. He has now cut loose from the family firm to do his own thing at ‘Oil’, just a few doors down the road. TRISH LEE spoke to him about his new gallery, which recently launched with an exhibition in its ‘Boiler Room’