Opposite Sex

Venue : Redditch Palace Theatre

Date : November 2000

Genre : Comedy

Director

Roger Warren

Director

Cast

Crew

Dave Wilkins

Producer & Stage Manager

Anne Cherry

Assistant Director & Continuity

Tony Goswell

Lighting

John Nolan

Set Construction

John Parkes

Assisted by

Abby Stonehall

Photographs

Crew

Dave Wilkins

Producer & Stage Manager

Anne Cherry

Assistant Director & Continuity

Tony Goswell

Lighting

John Nolan

Set Construction

John Parkes

Assisted by

Abby Stonehall

Photographs

Production Gallery

Reviews

Adult comedy on life and love

This year’s autumn production by Wythall Theatre Company is a sidesplitting adult comedy, which takes to the Palace Theatre stage this week.

The Opposite Sex, by David Tristram, runs from today until Saturday, where the pasts of couples Mark and Vicky and Judith and Eric come crashing back to haunt them.

Fate intervenes at a chance meeting between the characters, on which could have made for a pleasant evening. But it is not long before what should have been a friendly dinner party turns into a social nightmare.

As it starts to become clear what the common denominator between them is, the air soon become thick with insults, black eyes and broken chins.

Palace Theatre publicity officer Paul Hughes said: “This adult domestic comedy will have you in stitches from curtain up to curtain down and it won’t be long before you start to recognise characters and situations that may have appeared in your own life.”

He said: “The play lends itself to that sort of genre and the company thought it would be a different experience to take theatre out to the public in a pub setting.”

David Tristram’s The Opposite Sex is a sidesplitting, adult comedy guaranteed to have audiences in stitches from the time the curtain is raised.

You past can come back to haunt you, so they say, and it’s about to come crashing back into the lives of Mark, Vicky, Judith and Eric in a way that will have everyone howling in the aisles.

Fate arranges a meeting between the two couples, a meeting, which could have made for a peasant social evening, but once misfortune takes a hand it is not long before what should have been a friendly dinner party, turns into a social nightmare.

As it starts to dawn on both couples what the common denominator between them is, the air is soon thick with insults, black eyes and broken chins.

A Pandora’s box unfolds, that once opened does not want to be closed, and the plot must run its hilarious course to its inevitable ending.

Melina Cannon, Redditch Advertiser


Laughs aplenty at Palace

A spectacularly funny take on David Tristram's play The Opposite Sex was delivered by members of Wythall Theatre Company at the Palace Theatre last week.

The comedy centres on four characters, couples Mark and Vicky and Judith and Eric.

It soon transpires that Mark, played by Paul Hughes, and Judith, played by Sue Lister, share a past when Judith, an Avon lady, unexpectedly turns up at his and Vicky's home.

Mark, who has just had a blazing row with Vicky because he was late home after entertaining a female client, hastily invites Judith and her husband, Eric, for dinner the following night.

When the couple arrive, it becomes clear that Eric, played by Ted Rodgers, and Vicky, played by Clare Rowland, had enjoyed an illicit affair the previous summer.

Mark and Eric take an instant dislike to each other and deliver some cutting insults whilst Vicky, who believes a cheap bottle of wine has been bought by Mark when it was in fact Judith, creates even more tension.

Tempers really start to fray when Eric begins insulting Judith in front of Mark, which makes him seethe with anger at the way she is treated by her husband.

What should have been a pleasant evening turns into a nightmare and it is not long before they all realise what the common denominator between them is.

All in all, a great looking set and terrific performances by all four actors whose comic timing certainly paid off.

Melina Cannon, Redditch Advertiser


Moderator's Report

The Play

A comedy in two acts which focuses on two unhappy marriages and the adulterous would-be solutions that lead to the nightmare that is farce - "the worst day of your life" (Brian Rix)

The four characters, each of whose adultery involving the other marriage partner in a secret liaison is eventually discovered, are presented, despite the author's assertion to the contrary, as stereotypical. There is no psychological motivation for their behaviour beyond the situational: They do not develop nor offer any explanation for their actions beyond lust, whilst the denouement promises only to preserve the physical coupling to the family, without moral tag associated with good farce. The text largely involves either verbal or physical abuse of the various characters against each other - a subject presented as humorous.

Presentation

Setting and Properties:

A well angled setting with effectively painted walls that absorbed the light and kept the eye down to stage level. The door backings were very good and well lit. The decoration of pot plants was effective and the other properties well chosen. The furnishings were suggestive of the economic wealth of the owners.

Costume and Makeup:

Costumes that defined the characters reasonably well. The women were especially well distinguished in the supper party scene. Mark's costume needed to be more distinctive for the party; The waistcoat was not enough to establish his 'yuppy' character. Makeup and hairstyles effective.

Lighting:

The wash was generally effective although it was a pity that with such an attractive setting there could not have been more subtle lighting - wall lights, table lamps - to create the supper party atmosphere.

Sound/Music:

The music was well chosen and well produced as were the various sound effects. The crash in the kitchen was beautifully timed and earned its own audience appreciation.

Production

Interpretation:

The situations were revealed with a rather heavy obviousness although the text did not assist subtlety. The characters were true to the text and largely stereotypically presented. There was a well-presented embarrassment and subsequent anger at being made to feel guilty.

Teamwork:

Cueing was hesitant and more eye contact between players would have given a greater sense of team cohesion. Nevertheless, there was a corporate energy and drive, which carried the rather wooden text.

Grouping and Movement:

There was a tendency to play the text very frontally, which reduced the dialogue to even more artificiality. The down stage area was sometimes over dominant, especially in Act 2 which weakened the actors' ability to command when it was needed.

Pace:

A brisk opening pace gave way to some slow patches as a result of slow cueing and over emphasis upon stage business.

Climax:

Good climax for the end of Act 1 though missed for Act 2 Sc 1. The drawn out ending makes it difficult to close the play with a strong finish.

Acting

Mark: An energetic performance but one, which suffered from too much emphasis upon frontal presentational style and from gagging responses to the audience. This performance style was not shared by other actors and so cut him off somewhat from the development of the plot. Particularly good at the manic climaxes - the cushion throwing was an excellent theatrical moment.


Vicky: A clearly presented character with energetic speaking and movement. A good naturalistic phrasing and with concentrated listening and well timed reactions. Appearing in the supper party scene was effective and was matched with distinctive playing. Her anger at being humiliated was well contrived.

Judith: A very well presented character with a most effective vocal delivery. Lovely sense of unintelligence accompanied with petulance. Very good timing of comic lines. Appearance in the supper party scene particularly appropriate in the print dress.


Eric: Despite a faulty memory, the character was convincingly boorish with well-sustained energy and effective signalling of thought processes with facial gesture and good comic timing.

General Comments and Overall Achievement:

An energetic production, generally well presented with attractive setting. The production found some difficulty in handling a rather wooden script that affected characterization and dialogue but the climaxes were well worked. The acting was well contrasted with the female characters in particularly well drawn. The company play farce well and would have been better served by a better-written text.

Unknown, Birmingham\'s Festival of Acting and Musical Entertainment


Wythall Theatre Company’s new production at Redditch’s Palace Theatre is set to be a real scorcher.

David Tristram’s The Opposite Sex is a sidesplitting, adult comedy guaranteed to have audiences in stitches from the time the curtain is raised.

You past can come back to haunt you, so they say, and it’s about to come crashing back into the lives of Mark, Vicky, Judith and Eric in a way that will have everyone howling in the aisles.

Fate arranges a meeting between the two couples, a meeting, which could have made for a peasant social evening, but once misfortune takes a hand it is not long before what should have been a friendly dinner party, turns into a social nightmare.

As it starts to dawn on both couples what the common denominator between them is, the air is soon thick with insults, black eyes and broken chins.

A Pandora’s box unfolds, that once opened does not want to be closed, and the plot must run its hilarious course to its inevitable ending.

Unknown, Unknown