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The Anniversary: Review

IT IS not often that an amateur production leaves audiences totally gripped, but that was the case with the Lindley Players' version of The Anniversary.

 

The Anniversary ReviewThe combination of a brilliant script by Bill MacIlwraith and superb direction by Chris Coates meant the whole theatre seemed to be holdings its breath at certain moments of the play.

 

The clues that it was going to be an impressive show were there from the first glimpse of the set, which is remarkably spacious considering the size of the Playhouse Theatre's stage. It even features a free-standing fire with chimney and some fantastic wallpaper.

 

The plot, centering on family issues, had some wonderfully funny moments but with equal amounts of drama that meant I was hooked on every twist and turn.

 

Annmarie Moore, who has spent so much of her Lindleys' career hiding in the props cupboard, was the star of the show for me as Mum, stealing the stage from the first look she gave as she peered around the door.

 

She had some killer lines delivered with deadly accuracy that left me wincing on behalf of her victims, her three sons and their two persecuted partners.

 

Darren Simpson was transformed as Henry thanks to what looked like half a tub of Brylcreem and an interesting moustache and there was no trace of his usual confidence.

 

Newcomer Steve Scales looked suitably anxious as downtrodden Terry, and Gemma Conway was feisty and fun as his wife Karen, who can give as good as she gets.

 

Emma Thomas won hearts as Mum's newest victim, Shirley, who has no idea what she is getting into when she agrees to spend the weekend with fiance Tom (Dan Coles) and his family. I last saw him as Uriah Heap in David Copperfield and there were traces of that character when he gave into his darker side to plot Mum's downfall.

 

The three-act play seemed to be over in a flash and I was disappointed when the lights came up for the final time. It is on until Saturday, November 24 and tickets cost from £7.50 to £9.50 from www.playhousewhitstable.co.uk or the box office at the theatre in Whitstable High Street - see it if you can!

 

Liz Crudgington

This Is Kent / Whitstable Times Review 21st November 2012