One for the Road
Reviewed by Sue Ellis of the Eckington Leader
It was the suggestion of Director Philip Mantle that Sam White undertook the exacting monologue 'Her Big Chance' written by Alan Bennet – and one which she delivered with aplomb.
Sam plays Lesley, an aspiring actress who, after a series of unpromising roles as an extra in such television programmes as 'Crossroads', believes her big chance will come in the part of Travis, an adventurous, good-time girl in a new film being made for the German, and possibly Turkish, markets. It is not clear to what extent Lesley understands the reality of the type of film she is appearing in.
In the production, presented by the City Players, Lesley tells all, completely oblivious to the more sinister undertones of her story, she is self deluded and highly gullible as she recounts the filming process and its aftermath – being funny and sad in equal measure – a tremendous feat by Sam who held the audience mesmerised throughout.
By way of contrast the City Players second production of the evening was 'One for the Road' by Willy Russell, a very funny comedy of manners set in the 1980's with Dennis Cain (Matthew Jones) on the verge of this 35th birthday, his wife Pauline (Canine Cahit) and their friends and neighbours Jane and Roger Fuller (Ron Woodward and Carole Wilkinson) who are awaiting the arrival of Dennis's parents who are lost in a warren of identical roads, whilst discussing a wave of vandalism that has been inflicted in all but the Cain's garden.
The 'Parnes' kids are being blamed for such atrocities as gnome decapitation, painted garden vegetables and Radox filled fountains and, in the case of the Fuller's, their statue of the Venus de Milo having the arms reattached. The question is – could the culprit be closer to home – what is the secret that lies inside Dennis's Queen Anne bureau?
Dennis realises he is trapped by the social conventions of the time: his social climbing wife, Tupperware parties and Spanish holidays. In order to escape from his lifestyle he reflects on the past and plans his getaway leading to outright anarchy when he is confronted by his wife and neighbours who also decide to quit the rat race.
With great interaction between the characters all four actors showed their excellent timing and slapstick skills with the audience laughing out loud throughout.
Ellis, Susan. "Double Bill for City Players". Eckington Leader, 2nd Mar 2012. Print.