‘Daughter Of The Left Hand’ Review

Daughter of the Left Hand
20th April 2013
Adrian Mann Theatre, Nescot
Review by:  Steve Macvicar

Worcester Park Dramatic Society (WPDS) decided to perform another Norman Holland play after the society’s success with “The Militants” of two years ago and what a good choice it proved to be. I gather from your programme notes that this production was not without its setbacks and the best complement I can pay is to say that as an audience member you would not have noticed.

It has become a regular thing to say at WPDS shows that the set was fantastic – and it was. Amongst the five flats covering the width of the stage was a pleasant perspective of gardens and a genuine feel of money around the place with many sumptuous pieces of furniture on display over the large performance space. There were several dressed tables, two sofa chairs, chez longue, writing table, double doors, various pictures and assorted lights helped beautifully dress the set. The bell caused a little hint of trouble as actor and off-stage assistant couldn’t quite get in sync! Congratulations to all involved, it really makes such a difference when the scenery is both practical and realistic.

The play itself is neither a thriller nor a pot-boiler but it does deal with issues that are still relevant today although more prudent in 1903 when the play is situated…  …The influx of new members to the ranks has certainly revitalised the society. Some new members came in played support roles, others leads but each has brought something fresh to the society and long may this continue. It will also help the society extend its breadth of potential plays should the society wish it.

Congratulations to Patricia Dale for directing such a tight production. Her cast were on top form. I must also mention the costumes which were excellent. From Harriet’s full length grey skirt to Louisa’s salmon attire to Mildred’s light salmon suit to Nancy’s petrol blue dress suit to finally James’s red waistcoat and grey suit – all were breath-taking. I had a slight issue with the lighting. There were moody pools of lighting but lots and lots of gaps which meant we lost faces from time to time. A general lifting of the level would have sufficed. A minor issue in what was a very entertaining production.

I have written a few notes on the principal line up; (in programme order)

Maggie Walters – Brenda Denison
There was more than a touch of Mrs Danvers about Brenda’s portrayal which I loved and would have liked to have seen more of if the part had allowed.

Rev Randall Cooper – Des Wilby
Des made his society debut and was suitably pious and meek as our Rev Randall.

Harriet Hallam – Lynda Mitchell
This was a strong performance from Lynda. It’s a tough part to play from what I could see but Lynda coped admirably.

Louisa Hallam – Hayley Sponder
This was a lovely part for Hayley to play and she brought some very welcome humour to the proceedings from time to time.

Mildred Drew – Angelica Diaz
Angelica is another new face to the society and on the evidence of this performance, we have much to look forward to.

James Hallam – Daniel Webb
Daniel is a really talented ‘find’ for the society. He is very natural on stage and played a completely different character to that of the previous show, thus showing range.

Rex Hallam – Hugh Jones
Hugh has been seen in perhaps more challenging roles in the past but he continues to highly impress with his consistency in tackling leading men.

Lily – Sue Pither
A nice cameo from the last of our intrepid ‘newbies’ – very well done

Nancy – Harriet Kearsay
Harriet is settling into the society nicely and has now played a number of meaningful roles to a high standard.

Victoria Kemp-Collet – Yvonne Black
It was lovely to see Yvonne back on stage again and has become a real audience favourite…

… Thank you for inviting me to the Adrian Mann Theatre and I look forward to your next production in November.