Noel Coward is known for his wit and this play certainly contains it plentifully. It is a brave amateur group who takes on such a well-known genre, set very firmly in the 1920s, as it relies on fast pace and being attuned with the humour and sparkle in the script, but Ferndown Drama gave this a good attempt. The story revolves around a dysfunctional, bohemian family who have individually invited a house guest for the weekend without consulting each other. Cue some farcical situations and various declarations of love in increasingly unlikely circumstances. There were some fine performances from Scarlet Ball (Sorel Bliss) and Leah Jane (Myra Arundel) in particular. The cast must all be commended on mostly being strong on their lines (not easy with this long script) and a special mention must go to director John Sivewright who has stepped in at the last minute to play young suitor Sandy Tyrell.
However, much of the play lacked pace and believability, making scenes rather long winded. It also meant that some characters lacked credibility. Attention to small details would have helped the plausibility of some of the characters too – surely all the weekend guests would have had luggage? And the etiquette of using cutlery and tea cups and saucers in the correct manner should be easy to research and replicate? The use of silk flowers when they have just been picked from the garden and are such an important element of the script really lowered the overall quality of the production, as an example.
It is a pity that there was such a small audience for the cast to perform to. Perhaps this did not help the atmosphere as some of the humour was lost – Ferndown Drama deserve to have a greater number of people in front of them and I hope that will be the case for them as the run continues.
Local drama is important so go and support Ferndown Drama. The production runs until 26 October and tickets are available online or on the door.