Actors thrived on atmosphere
ARRIVING at the Little Theatre for MADS’ production of Easy Virtue I noticed that the mandatory chatter, buzz and rustling of sweet wrappers which is expected before curtain up was somehow heightened, and as I took my seat and looked stagewards, I understood why.
Such a magnificently well-dressed set would not have been out of place on London’s West End – we were well and truly transported to the leisurely resplendence of a 1920’s upper middle class drawing room.
Noel Coward himself wouldn’t have looked out of place languishing on that very sofa. The scene was well and truly set for a splendid evening.
Coward’s plays tend to be fast-paced crowd pleasers, and when well cast and well delivered, are a sure-fire success, and MADS undoubtedly succeeded.
As well as the aforementioned set, the jaunty music and immaculate costumes created a brilliant atmosphere from the start, and it was clear that the actors thrived off this.
With a few exceptions, they delivered their dialogue with the pace and panache required for Coward’s biting style.
There were a few actors who had a notable knack for the style – including Catherine Rimmer and Cameron Chandler, whose witty repartee and probing banter in their scenes as Sarah and Charles were definite highlights.
Gemma Wilson as the enigmatic Larita was also extremely well-cast, and managed to keep the audience firmly onside throughout her controversial storyline, which was no mean feat.
In productions such as this, there is often a vital cog in the wheel which goes unpraised – namely, the director.
Kayleigh Smith handled Coward’s tricksy play fantastically, making use of her generous set very well; especially during the party scene, which saw the ensemble meandering in and out through the vari- ous entrances to great effect. The play’s transitions were also dealt with innovatively, using modern music both to underpin scene changes and also as an interesting backdrop to the party.
All in all, a fabulous evening – the actors delivered, the production value was unrivaled and the audience came away grinning. I’d call that a jolly success, wouldn’t you? Claire Bowen
Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society at MADS Little Theatre
●● MADS performed Noel Coward’s Easy Virtue at the Little Theatre