25th to 28th April 2018
An appalling situation. A bridegroom wakes on his wedding morning in his own bridal suite, with his bride-to-be about to arrive any moment, and finds a strange girl in bed beside him. What’s more an extremely attractive girl whom, in the depths of his post stag-night hangover, he can’t remotely remember even having been introduced to. Worse – during the ensuing panic to get the stranger dressed and out of the way, the bride arrives and the girl is trapped in the bathroom. The only way out of the dilemma is to persuade the best man to pretend that the hidden girl is his girl friend. Then the problem is that the best man’s real girl friend has to be kept ignorant of the fact. By the time the bride’s parents and half the hotel staff get in on the act, the chaos reaches nuclear proportions!
It is that rare combination – a riotous comedy and a touching love story at the same time.
Rachel: Helen Saxton
Bill: Phil Prior
Tom: Pete Watt
Judy: Lauren Eeley
Julie: Naomi Read
Daphne: Mary Warrington
Directed by Tracey Pearce
Newbury Weekly News review
Marital mayhem ensues in Compton Players’ farce
It’s not a good idea for a man to wake up on his wedding morning, in the Bridal Suite, with a naked young woman called Judy in the bed beside him. Worse still when he doesn’t recognise or know her and asks her who she is.
This was the opening sequence of Robin Hawdon’s play, with Phil Prior as the bridegroom, growing ever-more evasive and confused as the action progresses. Lauren Eeley, as Judy, played it straight while all around her were becoming fairly frantic. Peter Watt, as the Best Man Tom, had his share of becoming frantic, particularly when trying to persuade the chambermaid (a lively performance by Naomi Read) to pretend to be his girlfriend and get his friend off the hook when his fiancée, Helen Saxton, arrives.
However, he does not realise that Judy is locked in the bathroom and he has mistaken the chambermaid for her. And if you think that is complicated, it turns out that the girl in the bridegroom’s bed was actually Tom’s girlfriend. It is, of course, typical farce, with people swiftly arriving and departing through doors and dialogue moving along at the same pace. If the cast missed something of the brisk, crisp delivery of the lines, they made up for it with some very good acting, stage movement and positioning generally.
Helen Saxton, as Rachel the bride, spending much of the first act slowly applying a mudpack to her face and shouting at her bridegroom, even in difficult situations, was impressive.
As the second act gathered momentum, there were, of course, shocks and surprises all round, not least when the bridegroom’s activities began to unravel and the bride’s mother, played by Mary Warrington, asked her daughter: “Isn’t there someone else you’d like to marry?” The main contestants, Phil Prior, Peter Watt, Lauren Eeley and Naomi Read interact together very well, with fine support from the other actors.
There was a very good set, designed by Eric Saxton, and Tracey Pearce’s direction was smooth and fairly well paced overall. Another good touch was that all the seats in the hall had been covered in white material, so the audience got the illusion they were attending a wedding reception.
All this and Elvis Presley singing Fever before the start.
FRONT OF HOUSE: The front of house team welcomed patrons and helped to create the atmosphere ready for the production. The hall chairs were covered in pale pink satin in the style of a wedding reception and this added to the atmosphere of the evening.
THE PROGRAMME: The programme was a simple A4 folded to A5 and contained information about the cast and production crew. There was also a touching tribute to a recently deceased member. A small NODA logo was on the back cover.
SCENERY/SET/PROPERTIES: The hotel suite was excellent and very realistically created with great attention to detail, bedding, working doors and much emphasis on the toilet brush! The bride made great use of make up and beauty products, rollers, hair net etc in her readiness for the big day.
COSTUME AND MAKE UP: The costumes were excellent and in keeping with the Perfect Wedding including appropriate outfit for the bride’s mother, tails for the best man and wedding dress for the bride. These were of the highest quality.
LIGHTING AND SOUND EFFECTS: The lighting was effective throughout and well controlled.
THE PRODUCTION: Tracey Pearce’s experience and strong direction shone through this energetic comedy. The cast bounced off each other well and there was lots of good physical comedy. All were believable and Bill (the Groom) ; even though he cheated, you couldn’t hep loving him as he earnestly tried to do the right thing. The cast all showed considerable comic talent in their roles and were always enthusiastic and entertaining to watch from exasperated bride Rachel (Helen Saxton) to Naomi Read as the chambermaid who seemed destined to end up with the blame for the fiasco. The pace was good throughout the production as the complicated plot unravelled. The story got more ludicrous and the laughs piled up during this very entertaining evening.