It’s the first night at the Library Theatre for Leighton Buzzard Drama Group who bring to the stage the first of four productions in 2022, a Bill Macllwraith play 'The Anniversary', directed by Ann Kempster.
Ann brings to life this play with great attention to detail, naturalism and fast pace - an emotional roller coaster. An evening full of twists and turns following a family led by the tyrant that is 'Mum'.
The set immediately whisks you away to the reality of a 1960s home. Furnished from the decade, costumes and knick-knacks to boot. Use of clever off-stage effects help to transport you to this busy family life.
'Mum' is brought to us by the amazing Barbara Springthorpe.
Barbara gives us an exceptional portrait of a master manipulator.
Her comedic timing is brilliant, giving the audience time to land her classic put downs and delivering the desired shock factor.
'Mum' is captivating and cruel, with a vicious tongue. Barbara's interpretation of this woman is simply outstanding. Her effortless delivery of all her lines makes a truly polished performance.
Jo Taylor gives a wonderfully naturalistic performance throughout when playing the long suffering daughter-in-law, Karen, showing a powerful whirlwind of emotional acting, responding and reacting.
Newcomers to LBDG, Rory Wolstenholme, Simon Theodorou and Jason Neale play 'Mum's' downtrodden sons. All three present different struggles for her to 'deal' with.
Rory and Simon demonstrate a great confidence for acting, solid projection and an impressive flair for character embodiment.
It is very exciting to see where this will lead in future productions.
'Mum's' persistence in highlighting her children's failings is brutal.
Her continuous belittling and berating with the occasional compliment thrown in, leaves brothers Terry and Tom both emotionally damaged.
The eldest son 'Henry' played by Jason Neale is by far the most favoured child of 'Mum's', often being sent off to fetch and carry for the family.
Shirley, the new girlfriend of Tom played by Lobke van Eijk, is exposed to a whole world of drama, as this dysfunctional family explodes in front of her eyes.
These elements all come together to make a truly enthralling, funny, emotional play, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Congratulations to Ann, cast and company for a great show. I look forward to the three productions to come this year.
>Did you see the show too? What was your verdict? Email [email protected]