ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

laughter whilst talking to his veg and tears admitting his far from perfect past. He felt so genuine in his collarless shirt and crumpled cords. The costumers all-round were top notch as were the period props and set. Stephen Dixon played the minister, a socialist to his core, moral and kind. Preaching about Attlee’s government, trying to do god’s work or having a quiet moment with Alice, Stephen made the part his own. John Cummings who played the local spiv doubled up as the mill owner Hargreaves. Hargreaves was a typical boss of the time caught in the changing times and resisting or possibly resenting social change. John differentiated between the two characters with ease, Vinnie was particularly watchable, flitting between oily charm and naked aggression within the blink of an eye. An accomplished performance by an accomplished player. Alice finds herself in deep trouble and confides in her best friend Vi. Vi is of the time she is in. Emma Jane Samworth was a revelation as Vi. From her early celebration of the Labour Victory to her revulsion at Alice’s situation, Emma didn’t miss a beat, her accent never slipped. A good woman, who just couldn’t hide commonly held views of the time, her perceived betrayal brimming to the surface in another brilliant scene so well executed by Emma. Act 2 opens in the local drinking house with a rousing sing song. A few company members are used to up the numbers in crowd scenes and added to the atmosphere greatly, busying themselves gossiping and drinking. Singing with the best of them is Simon Pomfrets Charlie, his nerves shot from the horrors of war, left only with a stutter and his army Number. A brilliant, touching portrayal, Charlie loses his stammer when entertaining the locals with his impressions and old gags, another highlight in a play full of them. Beverly McKiernan no stranger to character parts brings so much to her dual role of Elsie and Babs, exclaiming that Attlee has no clue or sneaking off for a kiss with a local publican: she shines on the stage. Kathleen Riley as Woman in Chapel, only on for a brief time but with a few lines, easily established a character with a look or a gesture. The whole evening was a joy. Sound, lighting, and even the songs chosen, were evocative, as we were treated to Vera Lynn, George Formby and Gracie Fields. I shall not forget The Garrick’s production of “The Right Thing” for a long time. Acting, writing and direction all coming together to create a wonderful experience. As Attlee once said, ‘Lets go forward together’ – well, this company did.