"Sometimes you knock on the wrong door... but the right person answers it".
This play is set in Portsmouth in July 2018. It is a two-hander comedy/drama about chocolate and gin and dutch bikes and haunted pasts.
This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Stage Manager||Sharman Callam|
|Lighting Design||Jacquie Penrose|
|Sound Design||Jacquie Penrose|
|Lighting Operation||Mike Jones|
|Sound Operation||Mike Jones|
|Programme Editor||Derek Callam|
Aside from the log line of ...'Sometimes you knock on the wrong door...and/but the right person answers it' a brief synopsis of the play is... 'A two hander comedy/ drama about chocolate and gin and Dutch bikes and haunted pasts.
The genesis - I was inspired to write the play when I thought of investing in a flat in North End, Portsmouth, a Victorian house split up into an upstairs and a downstairs flat. I planned to buy the ground floor flat, including the garden. And wondered who the woman who owned the top floor flat was, and what was she like? I did not buy the flat, but I wrote the play.
The play had a rehearsed reading at the So And So Arts Club in London in April 2019, and was produced at Titchfield Festival Theatre for a week's run in Jan 2020, along with another play of mine 'Inside Out'. Most recently it was one of twelve plays selected for a Zoom performance by Proud Haddock Theatre in April 2021. I am needless to say delighted that Bench Theatre are staging it. This will be my first play with them aside from the plays staged under the Supernova banner.
2X2 at The Spring Arts Centre: 'Well worth your pennies and your patronage'
Bench Theatre are back at The Spring in Havant this week with two self-penned one-act plays – "Whose To Tell?", written and directed by Jacquie Penrose and "Freehold", written and directed by Roger Goldsmith.
Script-wise these are two very different offerings; "Whose To Tell?" examines family relationships and what right we have to know our own stories, our own histories while "Freehold" tells a charming and hilarious love-story.
Jacquie Penrose's text is fluid, free-moving and natural. A mother and daughter, trapped in extraordinary circumstances, pull their relationship to pieces to examine how they are where they are – with home-truths aplenty coming to the surface and a justifiable sense of betrayal on both sides becoming evident.
Are they both in the right? Absolutely.
Are they both justified in the steps they've taken? Absolutely.
The text is a glorious exploration of how we can be completely right and completely wrong at the same time. Playing the mother and daughter are Kia Wilson and Jessica Jones, respectively. The performances are solid but I would have liked more stillness – there’s a lot of needless walking around – and perhaps some more vocal variety. That said – the pain in the relationship and the fear it generates is well-played.
"Freehold", on the other hand, is a riot.
On opening night the show was struck by the illness of actor Megan Green and hastily-mustered cover Janice Halsey stepped in to play the bonkers Mavis.
Mavis is looking to buy a flat and when she can't gain access to inspect the property, she knocks on the door of the downstairs neighbour, invites herself in and makes herself – almost literally – at home. Halsey played the part reading from a script. Yes – occasionally she stumbled but her performance was probably the finest of the evening. She threw caution to the wind, jumped into the Mavis-pool and swam for her life.
She was paired in this by the wonderful Andy Rees as John, the unsuspecting neighbour whose home and life are invaded. Ree's handling of Goldsmith's Pinteresque dialogue was masterful and the whole piece is joyous.
As an evening of locally-created theatre it is well worth your pennies and your patronage.