Why Salterton Drama Club’s Laying the Ghost was dead good
PUBLISHED: 18:30 23 September 2017
Mastering the art of comedy is a tricky business, but it’s bliss when it all comes together, writes EMMA COOLING.
Salterton Drama Club’s latest offering – Laying the Ghost – was one such blissful performance.
Tight and well paced, the action unfolded in a retirement home for actors, and director Richard Gomm took full advantage of this setting’s scope for eccentricity and drama, with a good dollop of both.
A fabulous piece of casting saw Dianne Nicholls as the flamboyant former actress Freda Deacon, whose frequent dialogues with the dead left fellow residents doubting her sanity, her mischievous sideways glances and muttering quickly winning her the audience’s favour.
Potty-mouthed Margot Buchanan – Freda’s friend and fellow retired star of the stage – was wonderfully played by Wendy Gomm. Margot was cutting and dry humoured, but despite this, Wendy still managed to convey a soft vulnerability, which was integral to the plot.
Juliet Roach was suitably authoritative as Mrs Kidd. Like most women her age, she was slightly in awe of Margot’s ex – the legendary actor and philanderer Leo Buchanan.
Sadie Croft, a keen young actress visiting Margot for tips on her forthcoming role as Juliet, was not all that she seemed. Penny Hill managed brilliantly the exposure of her true identity – Leo’s latest besotted conquest – and despite her initial false pretences, her exuberance and susceptibility meant that she did not lose our affection.
Snooty and aloof, Elaine Wilson kept the audience at a distance as Leo’s current wife Judy until the end when, in one of the play’s most touching moments, she made a gesture of kindness to Margot.
Marc Colson stole the show with a dynamic performance as the enigmatic Leo, whose desperate bid from beyond the grave (aided by Freda) to make good the situation with the women he had wronged was the play’s comic climax.
Steve Clark added farce as the confused superhero kissogram thrown into the action.
An intricate set depicting the retirement home was the perfect backdrop for this sell-out performance that left Playhouse theatre goers with the warm feeling that a comic conclusion married with a soppy happy ending brings.