Friday, 8 April 2016

"Tomb With A View" by Norman Robbins
Riverside Drama Company

Let me start off by saying that i was a little disappointed with this play, but not with the production or presentation. I saw Norman Robbins' "Tiptoe Through The Tombstones" a while back and absolutely loved it. I was really looking forward to seeing "Tomb With A View" because of the writer, but it seems that Robbins is a bit of a one trick pony because there were so many similarities between the two plays that I had already worked out who had done the dirty deed by the interval. Now let me just say that for anyone who has not seen another Robbins play featuring the family Tomb, you would not be disappointed because at first sight it is a really funny play and there are red herrings and twists aplenty. having seen the previous play by Robbins though this was a carbon copy.

Now that's over, let's get on with the praise.

"Tomb With A View" is set in the library of the Tomb's home, Monument House; they have been assembled for the reading of the will, but who will be the beneficiaries and who will get bumped off. More importantly, who will live to tell the tale! there are some strange characters here like Marcus Tomb who thinks that he is Julius Caesar, Dora Tomb who is a dab hand at gardening, although you wouldn't want the things she plants in her bed to come up!!

Mike Evans played the part of the lawyer, Hamilton Penworthy, whose job was to read the will, Sam Badman (Lucinda Tomb),Amy Cannon (Dora Tomb), Lizzie O Hara (Emily Tomb), Dave Wilson (Marcus Tomb), Jane Harris (Monica Tomb) every family member with their very own individual personality. The nurse, Anne was played by Donna Chin, really came into her own in Act 2. The dour housekeeper was played brilliantly by Moya Magee and the final pair to complete the excellent cast were Sarah Terry as the women's romance writer Freda Mountjoy and her publicist Peregrine (Perry) Potter, played with equal amounts of awkwardness and nervousness by Dave Whyatt ; both of these characters have secrets that are soon revealed.

Directed by Celia Billau, and what fun she must have had taking on this project, and what a lovely job she did on this as well. An important part of the play is the scene setting with sound and lighting, both ably handled by Keith Salway. I loved the costumes from the full Roman toga for Marcus to the tomboy-ish masculine suit for Emily, who by the way was wonderful as the butchest member of the Tomb family. Loved the set design of the old library with its secret (or not so secret) passage ways; another big pat on the back for Celia Billau along with Bob Baron.

If I were to mention anything that may need tweaking, it would be to tighten up, just a smidge, the delivery of some of the lines, as I got the feeling that maybe, and that's just a maybe, there was a wee bit of hesitation with some of the delivered lines. Something that may not even registered with other audience members, but that's just me being ultra picky.

If you're new to Norman Robbins, I urge you to see this wonderfully comical play. if you've seen Robbins' plays before, go anyway because this cast make it worth seeing.

"Tomb With A View" is on at the Duchess Theatre until Saturday 9 April 2016.

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