Langholm Operatic and
Dramatic Society presented ‘Clutching at Straws’ to good sized audiences last week.
A farce, directed by Bob McLure, it should have been a fast moving witty and humorous play but in the first quarter I found it slow moving and only a few laughs were raised from the audience.
This was due to the script which seemed to take a long time to set the scene.
As new characters entered the play the humour picked up and although not exactly a romp, it was quite funny throughout and the audience seemed to appreciate it.
The play presents Lady
Tinnion, very well acted by Anne Halliday, uncertain over her niece Julia’s eligibility to take over the management of the family company due to her recent engagement. Lord
Tinnion has recently died and Lady is still bereft.
Living in a big country mansion the Lady is supported by Mrs Barge her housekeeper, played well by Margaret
Latimer, who along with her husband Mr Barge, whom we never see, are due to retire and move to Scotland.
Julia’s old friends from school arrive for a girlie weekend and are caught up in the farce that takes place to convince Lady Tinnion that her friend Pippa’s brother Rollo is actually her
Julia is played by Michaela Calvert and Pippa by Jane
Edmond who both carry off the parts well.
Rollo is played by Les Murray who is very convincing as the playboy brother of Pippa who likes a good time and enjoys the girls. Les delivers some classic one-liners with perfect timing.
Also involved in the farce are solicitor Damian Pickering, played by Robert Scott and Nurse Stella Wilson played by Rebecca Jackson. Both were very good at playing these characters which pop up on a regular basis throughout the play.
Outstanding however, was the Julia’s third friend, Lotty Fairfax, played by Nicole Weatherstone who did a marvellous job of being ‘absolutely fabulous’ and entertaining the audience with her tai chi, swagger and altogether colourful presentation of the character.
Into the farce comes Mary and Peter Tavy who mistakenly think they’ve arrived at a country house which has been set up for a ‘swingers’ weekend and all kinds of misunderstandings ensue.
Those already in the big house think these two have come to replace Mr and Mrs Barge as housekeeper and gardener.
Michael Clarke and Pauline Burrows who play Mary and Peter, have several changes of outfits and are almost
pantomime-like in their portrayal of their ridiculous characters. But it is a farce after all.
I found the play funny with lots of one-liners and which, moved along at a much faster pace in the second half.
The audience certainly appreciated it and a lot of dedication and hard work had clearly gone into ‘Clutching at Straws’ to ensure we enjoyed it.
Mairi Telford Jammeh