ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

inflections were unnecessary and times of ‘adding action for the sake of it’ whilst others were talking, but overall, a solid and effective performance from Tristran. The costumes, supervised by Marion Hurst, all suited the characters well and showed a progression of time – and certain character traits (yokel, vet wearing the same shirt 2 days on the run; ideas of grandeur in Sarah’s dressing gown etc). Accents were used by most characters, although these were not always sustained or used effectively by all characters. Lighting by Tony Birch and Ben Fox was simple and complemented the attractive set by Tony Birch and Tracy Island. This offered glimpses into the garden – with crazy paving and real leaves on the floor (a nice touch) and into the kitchen area – perhaps hinting at the other two plays in the Ayckbourn suite. Eddie Bradbury and Teresa Ogden did a first-rate job of the props – including the amount (or rather lack of !) food presented in the various scenes – including 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners and tea. I am unsure though why the biscuit tin in Act 1, Scene 1, which was regularly referenced, seemingly contained table crackers? A few missed lines were helped off stage by the prompt – unnamed in the programme. Direction from Hazel Phillips used the space effectively and characterisation had clearly been worked on well. However, there were too many moments where characters got up and moved from their seat to offer speeches from a large rug area downstage right – almost as if they were performing to their fellow house guests, which felt unnatural. Blocking dinner-table scenes is always difficult on stage but I do think the table needed to have been angled differently, as throughout A2:S1 we just saw the backs of Annie and Ruth and the ending ‘reveal’ of the affair at the end of Act 1 also felt unnatural due to rushed movements in blocking. Overall, however, I thank D.L.T. for a very pleasant evening and I’m thrilled the theatre is now back in full swing with an interesting season lined up!