Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer
Performed during 1972
Cast & Crew
Technical Crew Details:
Reviewed by S.H. for The Croydon Advertiser
"Black Comedy" starts with the stage in darkness, and it is not until the lights fuse in the plot of the play that the actual stage lights come on.
From here we watch the stumbling efforts of the characters as they attempt to find their way around the room and through a series of increasingly complicated situations. So in a sense the audience is in a voyeur situation, watching the actions of people who are unaware of being watched.
For this illusion to work, it is essential that the actors play the actions of their characters absolutely sincerely. In this production I felt that there was a sense of self-consciousness from most of the cast. They seemed too aware that what they were doing was funny, as indeed it was, but it would have been more so had they been absolutely serious about it.
The only member of the cast to play all her actions with serious and sincere motivations was Rosemary Quin as the debutante Carol, and as a result hers was a performance well worth watching. One saw not only the funny side of her plight but also its more serious consequences.
Apart from this performance, the more tragic side was missing from this production.
Keith Walton as Colonel Melkett and Gina Martin as Miss Furnival came near to emulating Rosemary Quin's performance, but momentary lapses into self-consciousness tended to let them down. However, a lot of thought had clearly gone into these performances.
Chris Argles as Brindsley Miller, Steve Swinscoe as Harold Corrigne and Sue Pinkstone as Cleo gave technically good performances; in particular the section where Brindsley had to change over the furniture was hilarious. However, I did get the feeling with all three that they were playing to the audience, and they came dangerously near to "corpsing" (i.e. laughing) several times.
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