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Yellow Roses Grow On Dark Water at Whitton Allotments. The Script Room

21 November 2016

The Script Room

triple bill

Optik Theatre at Whitton Library, Nelson Rd. 17th November

Review by Ed Harris

The Script Room is an exciting new venture utilising some good space at Whitton Library as a platform for new writing. In association with Richmond upon Thames Library Service and Friends of Whitton Library, Optik Theatre’s professional actors launched the project with dramatised readings of two new scripts written by local authors, as well as a hundred-year-old script revived for the first time since the 1930’s, thrown in for good measure.

In a triple bill that included great comedy, romantic intrigue and powerful historical drama, the first performance was Yellow Roses, a one-act play by Ken Mason that wove a dream-like story of two women from Richmond; one from Richmond in Surrey and the other from Richmond in Yorkshire, who each receive a mysterious invitation to meet in a London café and each carrying a yellow rose.  In eventually discovering that their respective husbands are uncomfortably similar, it’s only after a series of clues present themselves that their uneasy plight begins to make some sense: a newspaper clipping, a key to a box and a connection to Richmond, Virginia, and all is revealed.  Or is it?

Deborah Kearne and Maggie Saunders, who majestically managed to make the scripts they were holding vanish, re-emerged after a short break as the two outrageous characters in an hilarious rendering of Allotments, a comic masterpiece written in 1918 by a pioneer of women’s writing, Gertrude Jennings.  In a side-splitting take on sharing, stealing and conflict among the cabbages, it is near impossible to convey the sheer professionalism of these actors with just a day’s rehearsal to nail the riotous timing of the lines and complexity of the moves required to do the justice to the piece they so adeptly managed.

Similarly, On Dark Water by Margaret Thomas, saw Jerome Ngonadi brilliantly convey the plight of a Virginian slave turned soldier who comes to the strange world that is 18th century London to prepare for his cherished ambition to meet with the King.  In this he is aided and hindered by Archie O’Reilly, a street-wise waterman, heartily played by Alec Bennie as to the precepts of a man about town in Georgian England.  If this was a rehearsed reading, then the mind truly boggles as to the capabilities of these talented actors.

As a debut piece for Optik Theatre, the Script Room event was of a similarly high standard and with the significant audience number appearing to have thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

 

Editor’s Note:

The next Script Room event is part of the Richmond Music and Drama Festival on Thursday 23rd March at 7pm, where this lively partnership looks to stage more original and unperformed scripts.  These can either be one-act plays or extracts from full length theatre scripts in any style and on any theme, but should have full live production potential and not require a large cast. Writers should contact Optik Theatre Director, Barry Edwards, for more information: mail@barryedwards.net

 

 

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One Comment
  1. heathermoulson permalink

    This sounds great. I was so sorry to have missed it.

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