Scaramouch Theatre Company Community Centre, Milford Pete Whitaker 5 March 2023
Following successful previous productions Scaramouche Theatre Company return with their latest production: Blood Money by the Heather Brothers.
The production circles around womaniser Mike Mason and his wife Liz who were involved in a hit and run accident in which a young teenage girl Carol Mitchell was killed. They believed they got away with it, until seven years later, they receive a call from someone claiming to be the dead girl. Returning home that night from an award ceremony, the couple find their house trashed and so the nightmare begins. After a roller-coaster ride of twists and turns the play finally reaches its dramatic conclusion as the full shocking truth of Carol Mitchell’s death is revealed. Nothing is what it seems in this smart, riveting play with plot twists aplenty.
I arrived at the very welcoming Milford-on-Sea community centre on a cold Sunday night but filled with anticipation to watch a play I’d never seen before.
The centre has a well-equipped self-contained, lighting and sound rig and small elevated stage area. Despite the lack of stage space, the set, which comprised of the lounge area of the Masons hillside home in 1995, was cleverly designed, providing performing space for the cast. A curtain was cleverly used to depict the awards scene.
Director Anne Ponting, who also stage managed and starred in the play, needs to be praised for how the cast were choreographed around the stage while delivering their dialogue. The movement around stage did not seem forced or un-natural and every inch of the relatively small stage was cleverly used. The ‘one-set’ and use of numerous props worked well.
The lighting, operated by Bernard Dunleavy and Dave Ellis, was well plotted and enhanced the performance by helping the audience follow the onstage action. The use of very intricate sound effects also added to the overall production. The cast did not have microphones, however they all projected well and I heard every word.
This is the third play by this accomplished company and once again, the production of an exceptional statndard.
There was great stage chemistry and characterisation between Danny Lyons, playing Mike Mason and Andrea Cutler playing Liz Mason. Both gave impressive performances, particularly given the amount of script to learn.
Tess Kazim also gave a stellar performance as Julie Robertson. The interaction with the other characters was excellent. This part is not easy and requires great acting, particularly with the twists and turns of the script.
A special mention also for Lara James who played Sue Thompson. This is Lara’s first play with Scaramouche Theatre Company and hopefully will not be the last. Her innocent characterisation worked really well and her involvement with Michael Mason at the start of the play is very important and delivered well.
It is also important to mention the rest of the ensemble, all of whom contributed to the success of the production. The voice of Carol Mitchell, played by Laraine Dunleavy and Sheri Logan played by Sophie Hills.
Last, but by no means least, Nancy Edwards and Eddie De Silva, played by Anne Ponting and Alan Ponting, respectively, provided some great comedic relief.
Overall, this was a brilliantly staged and performed play. It requires clever direction and convincing characterisations by the cast to pull off the plot.