28th – 30th April 1994
The Nerd arrives at a party and within minutes manages to insult, sicken and bore the guests, but he is not who he seems…
Tansy: Mary Warrington
Axel: Mike Long
Willum: Toby Fletcher
Mr Waldgrave: Robertson Bell
Celia Waldgrave: Brenda Prior
Thor: Laura Fletcher / Rebecca Warrington
Rick: Dave Hawkins
Produced by Enid Farr
Newbury Weekly News review
Compton Players certainly can’t be accused of taking the soft option when they select their plays; just a glance down the recent productions list reveals a selection that would be the envy of any amateur dramatic society.
This season’s choice was Larry Shue’s The Nerd, originally presented in America and subsequently in the West End. The action takes place in Willum’s flat, his rather ordinary life being thrown into nightmare by the arrival of Rick (The Nerd). Willum feels a great sense of gratitude to Rick who heroically saved his life during the Vietnam War. Given the bizarre behaviour of Rick, this seems unlikely and much of the off-beat humour is derived from the antics of the unwanted guests.
The well-rehearsed cast had to maintain American accents, and these were a bit creaky at times but the characterisations were good and after a bit of a slow start the play moved along nicely and the audience enjoyed it enormously. Producer Enid Farr must have had a great time with the players in the many moments of hilarity and their ‘straight’ playing added to the effect.
As Willum, Tony Fletcher turned in a very capable debut performance, and Mike Long was able to exploit his comic timing to the full in his role of Axel. As Willum’s sort of girl-friend Tansy, Mary Warrington was impressive and showed good facial expression and timing. Robertson Bell had the professional touch and hit just the right note as the businessman Mr Waldegrave, and his neurotic wife was well portrayed by Brenda Prior.
The obnoxious child Thor was excellently played by Rebecca Warrington (and by Laura Fletcher at other performances) and finally the highest praise to Dave Hawkins in the role of Rick. He handled his difficult role skilfully and brought much humour to it. The set was a little basic, but worked well, and the continuity and effects were spot on. What next I wonder Compton Players?