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‘Looking for Love’ reviewed  by Gordon the Optom

‘Looking for Love’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by November 19, 2018

‘Looking for Love’ is a four years old, farcical comedy, written in two parts by 75 yrs old UK playwright, Raymond Hopkins. Hopkins lives in the quaint village of Long Hanborough near Oxford. He started writing farces in 1998, and has generously donated his royalties from all of his Pinsley Plays, to Multiple Sclerosis Research. Hopkins is particularly dedicated and determined to seeing a cure, especially as Katy his daughter has MS.

His plays have seen over a thousand productions, and some seaside ‘summer season’ runs.

The Kalamunda Amateur Dramatic Society is presenting this comedy at the KADS Town Square Theatre, 6 Central Mall in Kalamunda. The two-hour performances are at 8.00 pm on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, until Saturday 1st December. There is a matinée on Sundays at 2.00.

Smart programme and poster (Geoff Stribley and David Gribble), but the posters on-line had no curtain-up time, but this was added later on the paper version.

The scene: is a smart house, in a typical English village.

The set: Impressive set, and solidly built by the cast and several others.

The sitting room walls were pale blue. There were two doors, one on each side of the stage. A large frosted, picture window, adorned with mushroom coloured, satin curtains. There was an enclosed staircase. The elegant three-piece suite was a very comfortable, soft fabric, 3-seat settee with wood trim.

Excellent, well planned stage management by Lesley Broughton and Bella Freeman.

Good teching, with good split second cues (Mark Ramsey, Julie Hickling, Anita Bound, and Les Marshall)

 

       After twenty-one years of marriage, and now in his late-forties, James Beale (Jason Millman) walks out on his frumpy wife, Molly (Cathy Parr) to move in with his new floozy. Their 20-yrs. old daughter Claire (Sage Lockyer) appears to be on her father’s side. The interfering, gossiping neighbour, Nancy (Julie Holmshaw) is stirring up the neighbourhood with her doubts. Molly is devastated, and after four months of being alone, she has reached rock bottom.

   Molly’s outspoken, but well-meaning lifelong friend, Fiona (Karin Staflund – superb), persuades her to try the ‘six-step miracle cure’ as described in a book for abandoned wives. The local vicar, Rev. David Thomas (David Gribble -very good) tries to help, but knows little of sex or love – but his parish secretary, Lynn Harris (Christine Gribble) would like to change that. Batchelor, Paul Tritton (Charlie Schirmer) an old friend from church, has a few ideas that might work.

       On completion of the six steps, Molly is guaranteed to have her life back together. Molly agrees to try Fiona’s idea, but first, she will have a relaxing spa and massage from Steve Miles (Steven Ozanne).

 

This farce was only written four years ago, and it has had long very successful seasons in the UK, yet sadly this production made the script look old and tired.

Most of director Ken Harris’ cast are quite experienced and capable, but strangely the chemistry was not there. The actors rarely looked each other in the eye, preferring to look over the head of the person that they were talking to; so when speaking their lines, they came from ‘memory’ rather than as a natural reaction to, or as a reply to, what had just been spoken. There was very little genuine interaction, which is the main requirement and theme of a farce. One actor was word perfect but ‘wooden’ – sorry. This dragged the pace down.

The actor with the least stage experience, Christine Gribble, performed particularly well. There was poor casting, and I suspect that many of the others – who can be very good – were in the wrong genre. The script was funny, but demanded correct punchy delivery.

I saw the amusing opening night of what could be a very funny, uproarious farce. Good luck, I hope that you get your act together – you CAN do it, I have faith.