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Hidden Psychological Depths: Black Chiffon

by on 16 April 2017

Black Chiffon

by Lesley  Storm

SMDG at St Mary’s Hall, Hampton, 6th to 8th April

Review by Didie Bucknall

Despite turning ninety, Jean Wood is still going strong as ever.  Her direction of another winner for St Mary’s Drama Group of Black Chiffon by Lesley Storm was this time staged ‘in the round’ at the newly refurbished St Mary’s Community Hall.

Stage direction of a play ‘in the round’ needs much careful planning to ensure that no one seat in the audience affords better vantage view than another.  This can lead to the actors having to make quite restless movements to change positions but, in the case of this play, the restlessness served to indicate the underlying unease of the characters.  The lack of walls and windows, though integral to the plot, are left to the viewers’ imagination which, again, serves the play well.

Black Chiffon it is a play which requires very strong actors, and these it most certainly had.  The central character brilliantly played by Mandy Stenhouse as a mother struggling to come to terms with the forthcoming marriage and departure from the family home of her adored son with whom she has developed a strong bond, was movingly and powerful shown.   Her son, still nursing huge anger and resentment against his father who, on his return from the war, had roughly displaced his son’s entrusted role as ‘man of the house’, was sensitively played by James Henry.   The blustering assertive father played by Keith Wait was excellently portrayed.  Here was a man who thought that money could buy him whatever he pleased; in this case the services of an eminent doctor to prove that his wife was not of sound mind when she shoplifted from a local department store.  Unfortunately, whilst probing into the disturbed mind of his patient, the doctor reveals unexpected hidden psychological depths.  The doctor was very plausibly played by Charles Halford with an air of quiet competence and authority.  Sue McMillan as the long suffering Nannie, loyal retainer and maid-of-all-works anxiously strove to keep the family calm and carry on in spite of the increasingly puzzling turn of events.  Katie Rainbow as the happy fiancée and unwitting cause of her future mother-in-law’s distress and Catherine de Roure as the married daughter of the family were in refreshing contrast to the build-up of underlying family tensions.  It is great to see SMDG attracting more younger people to their company which will mean that they can tackle a wider choice of plays.

A good backstage crew provided the set, lighting, sound, costumes and props, all of which combined to make a thoroughly enjoyable production.

Jean Wood is not resting on her laurels.  We can look forward to another play under her direction later on this year.

Didie Bucknall

April 2017

Photography by Christina Bulford

Editor’s Note:

See also: Something Unnatural? Black Chiffon



From → Drama, Reviews

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  1. Something Unnatural? Black Chiffon | Mark Aspen

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