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ODS - Say it with Flowers

17th to 19th July 2003

By Paul Union

Directed by Sylvie Beckett

Cast List

Mrs Jenkins   Jane Charman
Miss Watson   Yvonne Featherstone
Sonia   Jo Atkins

Plus...

Prompt   Marilyn Turner

ODS - Much ado about Woman

Directed by Amy Richardson

The Company   Amy Richardson
Yvonne Featherstone
Joan Haynes
Doris Lemon
Nikki Parker
Cry me a river (Arthur Hamilton)   Amy
Talking Heads (Angela Richardson)   Yvonne
Mae West   Nikki
As You Like It (William Shakespeare)   Amy
Mad about the Boy (Noel Coward)   Joan
Bloody Men (Wendy Cope)   Doris
It had to be You (Peter Spence)   Amy
Big Bottom Blues (Peter Spence)   Amy
The Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)   Joan
Mad about the Boy (Noel Coward)   Amy
Gonna Wash that Man (Rodgers and Hammerstein)   Company
The Taming of the Shrew (William Shakespeare)   Amy

Joint production team

Producer & Stage Manager   Natasha Figg
Box Office   Marilyn and David Runnalls
Lighting   Phil Stringer
Publicity   Jane and Jim Charman, Eric Howker
Posters & programmes   Martin Pratt
Front of House   Eileen Saunders

Pictures

Review

From the Dorking Advertiser, 7th August 2003:-

Ockley Dramatic Society’s MUCH ADO ABOUT WOMAN…or was it really about men?

This production had an all-female cast with a minimal set. If the problem was the absence of men, the ladies seized the opportunity to talk about them, mock them, criticize them, appreciate them and even sing their praises.

The first half consisted of a gentle comedy, set in a garden of rest. No "Carry On" belly laughs here but a really enjoyable sit-com.

Jane Charman portrayed a working-class widow who, between sessions of haranguing her late husband for the faults she is not missing, munches (bananas, crisps and sandwiches), sips (whisky-fortified) coffee and knits her way through the whole forty-five minutes ("Garden of rest? That’s what I’m doing, resting!"). Yvonne Featherstone’s sober spinster, who unwittingly partakes of the laced coffee, was delightfully handled, especially in the gradual transformation to merriment. The contrasting loudness (in every sense) of the Walkman-playing, broom-toting, boss-idolising, unstoppable Sonia ("They like to call everybody here a technician") was provided by Jo Atkins. If the action of the whole was ever so slightly slow, I was still left begging for more of these well-drawn characters.

The revue, "Much Ado About Woman", was the brainchild of Amy Richardson, who designed and directed the second half. She and Joan Haynes provided the solos ("Cry Me a River" and "Mad About the Boy") with the troupe "Wash[ing] That Man Right out of [their] Hair".

A specially written monologue for Yvonne Featherstone (Alan Bennett, eat your heart out!) described the course of her marriage as reviewed on her thirty-ninth wedding anniversary (four years after her husband’s death, a fact cleverly concealed until the end), Nikki Parker raised laughs with her series of Mae West one-liners between the acts ("Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same") and Soliloquies about men were provided from "Death of a Salesman" and Shakespeare’s "As You Like It" and "The Taming of the Shrew".

Black eveningwear for everyone, a bare set and intelligent lighting enhanced the sophistication.

The Society are struggling to find actors, especially males and youngsters, and those who can help with set construction. Their difficulties had necessitated moving this production from May to July and this was reflected in the low turnout. But those who sacrificed a warm summer evening were well rewarded.

I hope that those who saw and enjoyed will spread the word.