PADS - Habeas Corpus review
Whilst Habeas Corpus might now be a product of it's time, you would be hard pressed not to enjoy this am dram stalwart.
The Paulton Amateur Dramatics Society's (PADS) production of Alan Bennett's 1973 play thrilled the large and enthusiastic audience in Farrington Gurney Village Hall on Saturday.
The endearing stage presence of Gemma Turner in the role of Mrs Swabb, a working class cleaner with fairy godmother tendencies, carried us through the show.
Richard Morgan's Arthur Wicksteed MD for me was the stand out performance of the night. Charming and yet unsettlingly disarming at the same time.
Nothing sums up the sexually oppressed, frothing at the mouth, overcharged libido, of eccentric, lustful vicar Cannon Throbbing better than the biblical notion of "temptations of the flesh." Garry Yoxall's portrayal of the character was a joy to watch as he pranced about the stage in a Michael Mcyntyre-esque fashion. With his emphatic facial expressions, he delivered Bennett's whimsical dialogue with wonderful comic timing, driven by his desperation to keep alive his decade long sexless relationship with Constance 'Connie' Wicksteed played by Alison Barclay.
Adam Davis encapsulated the snivelling character of Dennis Wicksteed, an scrawny hypochondriac. He had us laughing and rooting for him from the start.
As Sir Percy Shorter "President of The British Medical Association", we were frequently reminded of his title throughout the piece, John Denford delivered a great performance. He brought to life a very pompous and proud character who prized not only his position in society but his untarnished reputation as medical practitioner.
Judy Yeates' performance as bored but lustful housewife Muriel Wicksteed was superbly sassy, seductive and frequently suggestive.
Perhaps the funniest scenes in the play were between Muriel Wicksteed and Mr Shanks played by John Plucknett.
Stern, fierce and reminiscent of a Victorian schoolmistress and disciplinarian Lady Rumpers, played by Ann Coppard, took to the stage and silenced the audience with her presence.
Congratulations to director Bernard Welch and his cast and crew for a thoroughly entertaining evening.