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Sense and Sensibility - The Harlequin Players

(November 03, 2012)

Once again the people of Mid Cheshire were treated to a wonderful production by this extremely talented company.  I have come to expect quality from them and I have yet to be disappointed.

If your preference is for a story well told and acted then I am sure you would have enjoyed this particular play.

A bare set augmented by furniture brought on and off by stage hands in period costume (a nice touch) and a picture frame on the back wall showing a view of the relevant scene, was perfectly adequate to tell the touching story of the two Dashwood girls, Marianne and Elinor.  The third sister Margret is never seen in the play, though she is referred to and even spoken to at times, as it would have only tended to slow the narrative.

The play is a truncated version of the book, but it works very well and the basic gist of the story is not lost by playwright Jon Jory.  We have, in essence, two lovely, but poor, young ladies anxious to marry their chosen gentlemen and the trials and tribulations they have to face before love finds a way.

In Laura Bason and Jenny Oates (as Marianne and Elinor) we had two young actresses of rare talent, who played their separate parts beautifully.  Laura gave an excellent performance as the impulsive and passionate Marianne and Jenny was equally as good as Elinor showing her character’s shy and discreet manner to perfection.  Sue Elliot (as their mother) was simply excellent in her portrayal of a mother desperate to make the best of a bad situation and determined that her daughters find a suitable match.

I was much taken with Damien Oakes, as Colonel Brandon, and Richard Beech as Edward Ferrers.  Either character could be viewed as weak and pathetic if not played in the correct manner, but neither actor fell into this trap and at no point was I not on their side.

The other supporting actors and actresses, Amy Norwood, Lorraine Shuker, Caroline Young, Jon Rees, Stephen Hoskins and Gaz Prest all helped make this a very successful performance.  Jan Bason, as the shrewish Mrs John Dashwood, delivered just the right amount of arrogance and, despite it being a small part, it made a big impression on me and helped to set the tone for what was to follow.

But, as usual in my reviews, I save my personal favourite until the last. Jenny Hindmarch as Mrs Jennings was, in my opinion, simply wonderful; everything I feel Mrs Jennings should be.  I am sure Jane Austen herself would have been delighted with her performance!

Director Kelly Kitchen should be very proud of her production and all the backroom staff deserve a big pat on the back for helping make this such an enjoyable evening for all who saw the play.

The Harlequins next production is “Peter Pan” which promises to be a highlight of the Festive Season. It runs from the 12th to the 15th December. They follow this with the Rebecca Lenkiewicz thought provoking play “Her Naked Skin”.  Set in Holloway Prison during the years before the First World War it starts as a simple suffragette story but soon becomes a story of freedom in all its forms.  It runs from the 20 to the 23rd February 2013.  I will be booking to see both shows, I urge you to do likewise, for they are sure to be high quality entertainment from this very talented company.

Alan Lowe.

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KMTC

Affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

KMTC is a not for profit organisation - registered charity number: 1077477

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This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe)

All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe www.MTIShows.co.uk

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