November 2012 – Over the Wall


Reviewed byPeter Steptoe

What a change to have a piece of serious theatre and congratulations to Parlour Players and Director Tony Dent for the choice of two one act plays covering a similar theme.

‘But Yesterday’ by Jimmie Chinn was a moving and slowly unwinding play that gradually conveyed the realisation that Robert (beautifully played by Michael Cooke) had come back to say good bye to the vicarage garden in which he grew up. We eventually gathered that he had betrayed his country and that in addition there were other secrets. Perhaps the Vicar (Jim Gibbons) and his wife Chloe (Joyce Wells) were not his parents. Could it be that Ruth (Madeline Reeve), the Vicar’s sister was his Mother and there was a nice cameo from Jane Swale as Robert’s deserted wife. The ensemble playing was superb and their stillness had an electricity of its own. My one small criticism was accents, for characters’ speech should represent stations in life.

Alan Bennett’s ‘An Englishman Abroad’ had no problem with accents and Sue Doswell as the Australian actress Coral Browne convinced me that she was. As for Simon Vines as the traitor Guy Burgess I could almost smell the whisky soaked breath through the public school accent. The action took place in Burgess’s small Moscow flat that Browne visited having come across him at a performance of Hamlet that she was in. No trace of self pity in Burgess and the visit of his boyfriend Tolya (Graeme Tunbridge) showed he was happy in his drunken state.