Paul Johnson | 14 Oct 2011 09:42am
I am certainly not going to give away the plot of Veronica’s Room as it is central to its appeal, suffice to say it is Ira Levin at his shocking best. The show’s programme notes gave away more than was necessarily required because this production was so slick, it would have been impossible to not follow the twists and turns.
Having attended with a ‘Veronica’ fan and previous cast member, I was keen to see what had them so enthusiastic about this show. I now understand.
With only four characters, Levin does a great job in keeping his audience hooked. Sometimes a smaller cast can give a feeling of over-saturation of a certain character but not with The Man, The Woman, The Young Man and The Young Woman. Alas their names are something else I cannot share with you for fear of ruining the suspense! When I heard that it was a thriller, I must admit I wondered how calm and quiet Hayes Village Hall could be party to such a performance. But Robin Clark and his cast had me on the edge of my seat from the first minute. As I itched to find out more, suddenly the interval was upon us and, then, just as quickly the sinister end loomed. Levin wrote this well but the quality of acting from the Hayes Players did the piece justice. Pamela Cuthill wonderfully exhibited the initial curiosity ‘The Young Woman’ felt, subtly changing as the true horrors emerged, all the while giving a measured and well-directed performance. The other cast members (‘The Woman’ – Jeannette Tippins, ‘The Man’ – Alec Raemers, ‘The Young Man’ – James Highsted) also gave exacting performances and showed their versatility through their portrayals of various characters. With this sort of play, it is very easy to slip into overacting as one tries to express the full and required range of emotions but not with this cast.
I must also mention the set. Hayes Players only produce short runs of four shows but this does not stop them putting a great deal of thought and consideration into the designs and construction. The doors for example actually had working locks that meant the whole process of locking a door could be done with the required speed and sound (often when ‘pretending’ things lose their reality as it is hard to judge the time needed). The busy but neglected clutter of the room left a slight chill in the air. The job of a set is to provide a convincing backdrop for the actors and this one did just that. And more. I wanted to be in Veronica’s Room, nosily prying into every nook and cranny.
Being someone that normally shies away from thrillers and anything remotely scary, I might just have to invest in a big cushion to hide behind and try some more of Levin’s work. At least for Hayes Players’ Sweet Charity next month, no cushions should be required!
- : admin
- : 07/10/2011