REVIEW: Dancing At Lughnasa, Nailsea Little Theatre, 3/5, by Gerry Parker
FIFTY years ago, as one of a group of neighbours who had just formed a drama club, Graham Tyson was watching the opening production, Sailor Beware, in Church House.
Having taken on the responsibility of being the director he was sure that something would go wrong. Nothing did.
With half a century of experience behind him, Graham – returning as director – thought there would be no problems awaiting him on the first night of this golden-jubilee production.
That was until a text message received 35 minutes before curtain up informed him that Vicki Hyde, who was due to play the leading role of Maggie, was in hospital.
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Cue prompt Kath Reynolds, who walked through the part – book in hand – to save the day in fine style, gaining quite a few laughs en route.
Ginny Watts, Julie Lawrence, Connie Walker and Jan Winters, playing Maggie's four sisters Kate, Chris, Rose and Agnes respectively, responded as though Kath had been in the role all through rehearsals.
They closed ranks in the way that author Brian Friel intended, an argumentative but close-knit group of poor, unmarried sisters in rural Ireland in the 1930s.
The men who cross their paths – the sisters' brother Jack (Terry Emm), a disgraced priest returning from Africa, and Gerry (Steve Allen), the father of Chris' seven-year-old son Michael – never fully break through the women's defences.
The atmospheric story was linked together understandingly by Ian Merryweather as the adult Michael.