Seal of Approval for period revival

Theatre review

Theatre review

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On Approval

Penwortham St Mary’s
Amateur Dramatic Society

Frederick Lonsdale’s play is a stylised period drama about two couples who fall in love with the wrong people.

Susan Spencer played Helen, who for some unaccountable reason, she being young and attractive, fancied the odious Duke of Bristol, a selfish, demanding character played by Graham Blackhurst sporting a curious Ken Dodd haircut.

It can’t have been for money as she was rich and he was penniless.

Meanwhile, the Duke’s friend, an agreeable old chap called Richard (Philip McLaughlin), also down to his last penny, doted on Maria (Christine Steel), a rich but stern widow, who shared many of the Duke’s unpleasant traits.

Having listened to him confess his undying love for her, she agreed to take him on a month’s trial to see if he would make a suitable husband for her. They would stay in her house in Scotland though he would be sent to a hotel each night to sleep alone. This was the 1930s 
remember.

In the end, all four of them went off to Scotland where the two love-struck innocents were treated like servants and soon came to realise what they would be letting themselves in for if they tied themselves to life with these two people.

The interesting thing was, what would they do about it?

The period feel was faithfully created by the accents and the costumes against a credible backdrop of a 1930s drawing room, but by the second hour, the rather static plot was running out of things to say. The sight of Ann Hall as the maid, reappearing at the curtain with drinks for the actors. who raised their glasses to the audience, was a welcome one, although a pity it wasn’t the other way round and we could have drunk to them instead.

Ron Ellis