WAITING IN THE WINGS
Osmotherley Village Theatre performed “Waiting in the Wings” by Noel Coward from 2nd April to 4th April 2014. A particularly challenging play for the group, given the need to cast eighteen actors with three costume changes per player, in a work that was not received well by critics when it debuted in 1960.
Noel Coward predominately wrote with specific actors in mind, to show case their talents. This play, set in a home for retired actresses, was crafted from his own experience of similar establishments, visited by him as part of his charity work. As such, it is a diversion from his normal modus operandi, which partly explains the critic’s reaction in 1960.
Although difficult to single out performances with such a large cast, Sarah Greening’s wonderful debut as “Bonita Belgrave” warrants mention. Think Joanna Lumley in “Absolutely Fabulous”, but posher! Jean Lake created a character who brought laughter and tears to the audience with a convincing portrayal of an actress experiencing dementia. Lynne Mortimer and Angela Thomsett held the spine of the main plot, both were powerful and professional. There were no weak links at all.
This is very much an ensemble piece, with interwoven characters alternating between comic one-liners and moments of great poignancy. This was brilliantly achieved by the cast under the directorship of Barrie Robinson, who should be heartily congratulated on taking the risk on such a large production. He nailed it!
As a member of the audience commented at the end of Fridays performance, “We used to support the theatre group because we felt we should, but now we would never miss it as it’s such a great evenings entertainment…they just keep getting better!”