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2013 Productions:-

Heatstroke by Eric Chappell - directed by Chris Wright

"It's good to be able to go and see a show and know that this will be a funny, 'bums on seats', production and will be suitable for all. This was certainly the case with Eric Chappell's Heatstroke. This play requires pace, otherwise it might be a bit too wordy but not so pacey that it gets too frenzied either. This was achieved by the six experienced and talented actors. First are the older couple of Sam and Fay played by the suave Syd Smith and Helen Langley, who reminded me of a younger June Whitfield. Sam yearns for the good life and when he finds half a million pounds in a holdall, which he has mistaken for his at the airport, he decides he is going to keep it. His sensible wife has for the first time in her life also been a little dishonest by borrowing her boss's villa for a free holiday. The pace at the start was a little slow but warmed up a great deal when the new couple, actor Howard Booth and his girlfriend Dodie, enter (played respectively by Andy Millward and Angela Gee). Both these two actors really can work the stage and it suddenly became a lot more interesting and funny. I love Howard's over acting as the failed 80's TV star and Dodie talking proudly about her cheese spread advert. Both have the same holdall as the other pair and when they swap and find out that the new one has money in it, they want a share or maybe even all of it, if they too can get away with it! Next to enter is Rayner who they think is a Mafia gang leader come to collect the third identical holdall full of the money but he turns out to be a police Inspector. Good performance here by Geoff Hadley. Last but not least to enter the villa is Mad Moon the gangster (Jeremy Pruce) with a twitch which he doesn't realise he has. This is his money that he has stolen in the UK and will stop at nothing to get it. This could have been 'over the top' acting but to his credit he gave an excellent quietly threatening performance, which really got all of them clamouring to return the money. The set was superbly done with white and terracotta walls, wooden shutters and Spanish plates, painted gecko, paintings and plants. The wicker three-piece also added to that hint of being abroad in Spain. Lots of lovely detail everywhere - well done to whoever designed the set and props. A very enjoyable night and I do hope the other nights go even better."
     Chris Davidson deputizing for Stewart Adkins-National Operatic and Dramatic Association

Critic's Comments:-

Michael Gray-Weekly News

Maggi Fisher and Penny Davidson-North Essex Theatre Guild

Stewart Adkins-National Operatic and Dramatic Association

Photos taken during the production