Wednesday 17 November 2021

 "Cold Front" by Beeston Players

Round Hill School, Foster Avenue, Beeston.

It's so good to be back at Round Hill School and seeing The Beeston Players back on stage with this comedy written by Alan Robinson.
"Cold Front" is set in a remote tin cabin in the Highlands, on the banks of Loch Lannermory, where three couples come together for a birthday surprise, organised by the hapless Mike for his wife Karen. While they are incarcerated in the cabin by heavy snow, their personalities clash, confusions arise and they fall out. The tensions and misunderstandings build to a climax in Act 2.
Mike, played by Rob Jackson, is one of those characters whose heart is in the right place but something always seems to go just a little bit wrong. Rob is one of those actors whose forte is comedy, and he does comedy well, and you always end up feeling just a bit sorry for the characters he plays.
Nicola Adkin plays Karen (Mikes wife), and I love the way that the character slowly brings herself to the boil before exploding, but was lovely to see the simmer as well. Nicola looks to be enjoying playing Karen as she can really let rip with the script and Karen's emotions.
Sarah Nicholson is Miriam (Karen’s oldest friend) and, like Karen, is the one who really wears the trousers, but even more. When she orders Malcolm to do something, he does it! All the women in the play hold the cards in their relationship, one way or another, and Sarah's bossy and overbearing characterization of Miriam is also the cause of many of the comic moments.
Paul Langston is Malcolm (Miriam’s husband), and really looks the part of the geeky, dated, under the thumb lap-dog husband who eventually gets to answer back, even if it's not to Miriam's face. I imagine this is another character that is fun to play for an actor of Paul's calibre.
James (Mike’s best friend) played by Tom Jenkins, made me wonder how far Tom went for the method acting here as he plays "drunk" really convincingly. There is one part where he is about to drink some "wine" he has found in the larder, that unbeknown to him is not wine. There were some members of the audience who I thought were going to break out into panto mode and yell "don't do it", and that is the sort of fun that this character and the play brings out in the audience.
Sue Frost plays Christina (James’s girlfriend). Christina is James' latest girlfriend in a long line of conquests, as Mike has not been able to keep up with James' latest tally. Christina is just a little tarty but she has her heart in exactly the right place, even if her hands roam a little with any sniff of testosterone masculinity, even Malcolm! Because of this she is not the dish of the day with the other women in the story and this creates some wonderfully bitchy comments, but Christina can hold her own, almost as well as her wish to hold the male characters' own! Like every character that Sue merges into, she makes the role her own.
The Radio Announcer is the voice of Nina Tunnicliff, who also wears the hat of Producer for this production.
Directed by Gary Frost, who makes his debut as Director and he does a cracking job of it, assisted by Larraine Maddison. This play is kept nice and pacy, and the comedy tight, and we get the feeling of the snowfall whenever a character enters from outdoors as they re-enter with "snow" on their shoulders and clothes, so it's nice to see those little touches are adhered to, to give the impression of the world outside the rusty can of a shed.
Talking of cans and the weather, we also discover that the fully stocked larder advertised in the brochure is stocked but with cans of beans, so with the snow outside, we also have the wind inside thanks to Malcolm, who we also discover has a sensitive disposition. we are left in no doubt about this thanks to the sound effect department.
Thank goodness Beeston Players do not have a smell effect department as well! As I've mentioned sound, I should give credit to Sam Williams who was in charge of this area.
Sam is also responsible for the Set Design, and you get the feeling that the place has been barren for a while due to the number of Autumnal leaves adorning the carpet and sofa. The decor of the room needs attention and there is a Scottish flag looking quite sorrowful dangling from the wall, a door that sticks (sometimes) and a picture frame hanging at a jaunty angle. I'd love to see the Trip Advisor reports for this "apartment". Maybe Sam has delved into past experiences for this set! Who knows?
The lighting design is simple which is what the play calls for and is by Fiona Maxwell.
I always mention the front of house team for the Beeston players as they are always so friendly and helpful, and it's lovely to experience what they bring to the table once again, including free coffee and tea in the interval. It's so good to have you all back.
"Cold Front" will be at Round Hill School, Foster Avenue in Beeston until Saturday 20 November when they have a matinee performance only.

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