Confusions

Venue : Redditch Palace Theatre

Date : May 1994

Genre : Comedy

Director

Cast

Mary Mellor

Lucy (Mother Figure)

Val Archer

Val Archer

Rosemary (Mother Figure)

Mike Beamish

Terry (Mother Figure)

Ted Rodgers

Harry (Drinking Companions)

Denise Williams

Paula (Drinking Companions)

Anna Ahmed

Bernice (Drinking Companions)

Tony Lacey

Waiter (Drinking Companions)

Tony Lacey

Waiter (Between Mouthfuls)

Mike Beamish

Pearce (Between Mouthfuls)

Val Archer

Val Archer

Mrs Pearce (Between Mouthfuls)

Ted Rodgers

Martin (Between Mouthfuls)

Joy Rodgers

Polly (Between Mouthfuls)

Tony Lacey

Arthur (A Talk in the Park)

Denise Williams

Beryl (A Talk in the Park)

John Parkes

Charles (A Talk in the Park)

Val Archer

Val Archer

Doreen (A Talk in the Park)

Mike Beamish

Ernest (A Talk in the Park)

Val Archer

Val Archer

Mrs Pearce (Gosforth Fete)

Mary Mellor

Milly (Gosforth Fete)

John Parkes

Gosforth (Gosforth Fete)

Steve O’Hara

Vicar (Gosforth Fete)

Tony Lacey

Stewart (Gosforth Fete)

Crew

Denise Williams

Stage Manager

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Sarah Courbet

Assistant Stage Manager

Angela Smith

Production Assistant

Denise Lambe

Production Assistant

Estelle Shutkever

Production Assistant

Dave Wilkins

Set Design

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Bill Arris

Set Design

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Bill Arris

Set Design

Tony Goswell

Lighting & Sound

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Patrick Taylor

Lighting & Sound

Anne Cherry

Properties

Rachel Chew

Properties

Audrey Parkes

Properties

Beryl Linforth

Properties

Steve O’Hara

Photography

Crew

Denise Williams

Stage Manager

Sarah Courbet

Assistant Stage Manager

Angela Smith

Production Assistant

Denise Lambe

Production Assistant

Estelle Shutkever

Production Assistant

Dave Wilkins

Set Design

Bill Arris

Set Design

Bill Arris

Set Design

Tony Goswell

Lighting & Sound

Patrick Taylor

Lighting & Sound

Anne Cherry

Properties

Rachel Chew

Properties

Audrey Parkes

Properties

Beryl Linforth

Properties

Steve O’Hara

Photography

Production Gallery

Reviews

No confusion after all...

NO CONFUSION about this production - it was an absolute hoot.

The Wythall players worked Alan Ayckboum's wonderful script to the full to produce a thor-oughly enjoyable two hours of cracking comedy.

The series of five interlinked plays took in all sorts of instantly recognisable 'types', from would-be womanising salesman to quarrelling couples and achieved the remarkable feat of squeezing gallon-loads of laughter from them without ever stereotyping or patronising.

The excellent ensemble acting also managed to dig beneath the surface humour to bring out Ayckbourn's perceptive observations on modem life and relationships.

Stand-out performance in an evening of great performances was Tony Lacey's marvellously droll waiter in 'Between Mouthfuls', while the frantic farce of 'Gosforth's Fete' brought a fitting finale to the comic proceedings.

Unobtrusive yet effective directing, simple sets and good props, great script and a very able cast all add up to one of the best amateur productions I've seen. Do yourself a favour and pop along to the Palace tonight or tomorrow you won't be disappointed.

Howard Walker, Unknown


Laughs Five Times Over

Am-dram is far from humdrum when the Wythall Theatre Company takes something and breathe life into it. Allan Ayckbourn's Confusions was no exception.

This clutch of five playlets, skillfully directed by Jonathan Prior, had a cast of thousands, some distinguishing themselves in more than one.

First came Mother Figure. Lucy (Mary Mellor), a nutty mother trapped at home with her kids, sorts out a quarrel between neighbours Rose and Terry (Val Archer and Mike Beamish) by treating them like two year olds.

Drinking Companions, the second play, saw the first appearance of the excellent Tony Lacey as an unflappable waiter, watching the chat up attempts of sales rep Harry (Ted Rodgers). The objects of Harry's advances Paula and Bernice (Denise Bishop and Anna Jedrzejec) were excellently cast and all four players captured magnificently the boredom of commercial life on the road. Lacey's finely judged waiter emerged again in Between Mouthfuls, a fine display of comic timing which could have been a disaster.

Two couples in a restaurant ministered to by Lacey's inept, though admirably patient waiter, quarrel at adjacent tables. What links them is wife number one's affair with husband number two. The focus of attention alternates between tables, and as we watch the antics on one, the other couple continue in silent gesticulation. Lacey hovers attentively between them, entirely unmoved.

A Talk in the Park was kicked off by the ubiquitous Tony Lacey in the role of a cigarette card collecting "anorak".

Fleeing his creepy chat up routine Beryl (Denise Bishop) hops to the next bench and offloads her troubles on Charles (John Parkes), who flees to the next and starts to ramble on to... and so on. Another example of comedic precision.

Gosforth's Fete, although disappointing had the consoling presence of... yes, you've guessed it... Tony Lacey, as the perennially good-for-a-laugh, comic scout master.

David Whipp, Bromsgrove Advertiser


Five into one will go...

ALAN Ayckbourn's plays are popular among amateur theatre companies but I have never seen his round robin Confusions before.

It is a difficult piece to watch not because it is confusing but because it is so..... piecemeal. Wythall actors more than doubled up to give a set of nicely tuned performances in the five one act plays.

Val Archer appeared no less than four times twice as the formidable councillor Mrs Pearce and at other times as a deranged mother-of-three and a paranoid park bench sitter.

Some plays worked better than others.

Between Mouthfuls, the story of star-crossed diners, went on too long but was saved by Tony Lacey's ingenious waiter. Lacey, last seen hamming it up as an ugly sister in the Palace panto, also turned in a brilliant performance as Arthur the sad man in the park.

It was a fine sketch of the lonely-man-in-the-mac carefully reading his cigarette cards and wondering why people moved away from him.

The circular A Talk In The Park proved the most popular play of the evening.

Catherine Jones, Unknown