‘Where there’s a Will’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by March 27, 2017

‘Where there’s a Will’ is a fast moving dark comedy, written by Warrington resident, Ian Hornby. As well as writing more than 50 plays. Ian, who was admired for his dry sense of humour, was the founder of ‘New Theatre Publications’.

Ian was never too busy to help budding playwrights, sadly died three years ago, so one can only hope that his funeral was a little more dignified than this hilarious play.

This ‘deadly’ amusing comedy is the latest offering by the Rockingham Theatre Company. These wild, 2-hour performances can be seen at the Rockingham Theatre, Attwood Place, Rockingham each Friday and Saturday night at 8.00 pm until the 8th April. There is one matinée on Sunday 2nd April starting at 2.00 pm. You can always be assured of a warm welcome at the Castle Theatre.

 

Congratulations on another jaw-dropping set. The scene is the sumptuous sitting room of a wealthy couple, Linda and Derek. Centre stage is a three-seater, leather Chesterfield sofa. Here is a small bar and telephone table. The rear of the stage leads to the front door and staircase. Most impressive. Designed by David Heckingbottom and built by the members.

The stage manager is Danny Joyce, who is ably assisted by Callon Leam and Melanie Taylor.

Jackie Hiscox has capably designed the sound and lighting. India Allen smoothly operated the follow spot.

 

       The curtains open to show a domestic tiff. Linda (Helen Brown) has steam coming out of her ears, she has suspected for some time that her meek husband, Derek (Peter Shaw) has been having an affair, but now she has the evidence – a pair of lace knickers found in the glove compartment. The young, dippy housekeeper (Natasha Birch) loves these confrontations, and blatantly watches the feud whilst drinking a cup of tea.

      Eventually, Derek admits his to having his fling, and tells Linda that his lover is her sister, Carol (Cherry Allen). ‘Ridiculous, in that case’ says Linda ‘I am having an affair with your brother, Colin (Peter Scarrott)’. They both laugh at the absurd suggestion. However, Linda is still deep down furious and decides to poison her husband by putting arsenic in his teacup.

      The doorbell rings, it is the vicar (Terry Winter) looking for another donation for the church roof. The vicar sees the cup of tea and drinks it. Linda is now left with a dead body to dispose of. To make things worse, two friends that they have not seen for several years, Julie (Sharyn McCaskey) and Peter (Danny Joyce) arrive at the worst possible moment.

      The battle is now on, who will win the competition to live happily ever after on the large life insurance policy by killing off their partner first?

 

Directed by David Heckingbottom, this play is hilarious. The first Act sets the scene, and Acts 2 and 3 get more bizarre as the play builds to a remarkably, uproarious climax. Most of the cast are Rockingham regulars, and as always gave their absolute best; however, it was comparative newcomer, Natasha Birch as the house cleaner, who won everyone’s heart with her brainless confusion.

Rockingham has departed from its regular farce production, to give us this special dark comedy. The script is very well constructed, with some fabulous derogatory lines that many of the audience will, no doubt, have stored away for their next family argument. Hornby has developed some great characters that still bring a smile days later, thanks to an ‘in tune’ cast with immaculate delivery.

An unusual play, skilfully presented. Thoroughly recommended.