‘Brush With A Body’ NODA Review

Brush With A Body
23rd November 2013
Adrian Mann Theatre, Nescot

…As the society continues to go and grow from strength to strength and the dynamics of the society are changing, I thought this was a good choice of play. There was a full range of characters on show and a good mix of age ranges for your actors to enjoy in this 1960’s comedy.

I liked the set which was clean, open, fresh and very engaging…The attention to detail was impressive – it was not sumptuous as in some previous productions but reflected the standing of the family and the period they were in. The set design and set building team are to be congratulated.

The play itself is a bit of a slow burner, as many are, whilst characters and events are established…It does gain momentum over the three acts as events unravel and this turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable production. It is lovely to see the integration of new younger members and the more established members playing fabulous character parts. It was particularly lovely to see Hugh Jones play a common man again after many loftier roles. It was the Irish worker and his interaction with various members of the family (and a significant amount of the good stuff) that produced most of the humour as well as the absurdity of the body being found up the chimney.

Congratulations to Patricia Dale for directing such a tight and entertaining production. All characterisations were big but stayed within the realms of plausibility. Technically it was all good except for a fleeting moment when Henry had to shout “Lights Malcolm, Lights”. The costumes and props were altogether appropriate and I particularly liked Sybil’s lovely red suit and shoes. The play was well produced and stage managed by Malcolm Stephens and David Wiggins (and his stage crew). The action flowed smoothly with all cast members appearing to be well rehearsed…We were entertained by Harriet Kearsay as Sarah Walling. Kelly-Ann Fernandes as Cynthia Walling, Yvonne Black as Mrs D’Arcy, Patricia Davy as the effervescent Sybil Walling with support coming from Margaret Mason as Det Sgt Hardy (did they have lady Det Sgts in the 1960s?), Hayley Sponder as Rosita Hernandez and Sophie Mathieson as The Hon. Pamela Colefax – each contributed greatly to the success of the production. Our male participants came in the form of four characters. Hugh Jones was a triumph as the Irish worker Flaherty who made himself feel right at home. Daniel Webb is every inch the leading man and was very easy to watch in his portrayal as everyman Henry Walling. Martin Phillips nicely portrayed Paul Martell and Patrick Morrison put his own spin on Constable Bray.

Judging by this production, it looks like it is onward and upward for WPDS which pleases me very much. This could well be a contender for a NODA drama nomination later in the year.

Steve Macvicar