Someone Else's Pretty Toys - directed by Chris Wright
"With an all-female cast of seven this "Drama of Mystery and Suspense" started off as a gentle rural comedy within Mrs Faire's living room. Sarah Wilson's Mrs Appleby was a delightfully game middle-aged widow dispensing hearty advice and double entendres in equal measure, with the prim and proper Miss Judd (nicely restrained performance by Helen Langley) being the butt of many of her jokes. The acknowledgment of Mrs Faire's (down to earth characterization by Angie Gee) misfortune, having lost her husband to HM's prison system for murder many years previously, injected a darker note into the proceedings. Was this relevant to what ensued or did it just keep us off balance before the meatier clues arrived? The feeling that all may not be well within the Faire household was emphasized when we heard of Nancy's disgust that her younger sister, Judith, chronically sick with heart disease, had pinched her boyfriend. It was at this point that we suspected that it would be the younger daughter around which the rest of the plot would revolve. Plot-wise this was correct but it was Jo Fosker's performance as Nancy that stole the acting honours, combining her hurt and jealousy with both a deep-seated sisterly love and filial support. Judith, played by Gemma Anthony, was coltish and mercurial in her characterization, tending towards callousness in her reaction to murder, portraying a diminished emotional response to events as they unfolded. I wasn't sure whether this was youth and inexperience or the normal reaction of a cocaine-fuelled youngster. Either way it seemed to work, as did the arch-villainess performance of Clare Woodward's Mrs Knight, cleaner by day and drug-dealer by night. Vikki Babar's PC Bryant completed the line up of this all-female cast.
Despite competing with the announcements from a nearby sports field for the first ten minutes the cast all delivered vocally strong performances that could easily be heard and understood. The costumes were right for the period and the set was a very good representation of a 60s living room. Entrances and exits were timely and the blocking on stage was good, despite there being five people onstage at a time on occasion. I liked the tableau at the end, making a change from the usual line up, and overall this was an enjoyable production."