Tuesday, 18 July 2017

“Dangerous Corner” by J.B.Priestley
Nottingham Playhouse
This is the second of the three plays in the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season 2017 performed by TABS Productions.
Robert and Freda Caplan are entertaining guests at their country retreat. A chance remark by one of the guests ignites a series of devastating revelations, revealing an undiscovered tangle of clandestine relationships and dark secrets, the disclosures of which have tragic consequences.
Chris Sheridan (Robert Caplan), Charlotte Chin (Freda Caplan),
Anna Mitchum (Betty Whitehouse), David Osmond (Gordon Whitehouse), Jo Castleton (Olwyn Peel), Mark Huckett (Charles Stanton), and Susan Earnshaw (Maud Mockridge) were all, as usual excellent in their respective roles.
Geoff Gilder once more excelled in the costume department. Very simple but very stylish.
The set design (Sarah Wynne Kordas) was different to what I'd expected from the typical drawing room set. Before hand Director Karen Hensonhinted that she had set it in a circus, and that is just what the "walls" of the set looked like. Again simple design which meant that the set didn't detract
from the script or the wonderful acting. The furniture was classy and apt for the 1930's setting of the play.
Karen's direction, or is it the natural ability of the actors, not quite worked that out yet, means that when you listen to these actors, it's like you're sitting in the corner eavesdropping on a group of friends.. There's some lovely "angry" speeches and the odd funny line all delivered clipped. The flow of the speeches and script makes this play nice and pacy.
The lighting in this play, designed by Michael Donoghue, at first, apart from the obvious bit where the lights were turned out to see the "ghost owl", was very subtle in Act two, especially shown to best advantage on the white sections of the black and white striped background. You have to see it to get the whole feel .
David Gilbrook is the Sound Designer. One thing you notice, or not as the case may be, with these plays by TABS is the unobtrusive but natural sound effects. But this is an art to make everything sound naturalistic. You expect to hear a sound, so it comes as no surprise that it;s there and on time.It's simple to say but in the theatre, one missed sound cue and it throws everything out and that natural feel is lost. Believe me I've seen it and it kills the magic.
The script is quite wordy and it's one of those plays that you have to concentrate on to get the full enjoyment of the play, but the ending is like tying the bow on the big present, you get my gist, don't you?
Priestley's first play brings into play the time lapse element which can sometimes be not the easiest to replicate on stage, but it really worked well with this play
Anyway, I can waffle on rill the cows come home but to get the full effect and joy of this stylish play, which isn't really a murder mystery as we don't see any murders, and it's not really a thriller. It's just a good play with a murder and some intricate revelations from every character.
“Dangerous Corner” is at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 22 July 2017.

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