Dahling You Were Marvellous

Directed by Rebecca Chapman
Photographs by Sean Owen


Dahling You Were Marvellous’ by Steven Berkoff
 Directed by Bec Chapman and performed by Mad Red Theatre School on Sunday 8th July 2012
I didn’t want this production to end. It kept up a buzzing momentum from the very start and I would really like to see it all over again, this time to fir names to the various roles. I shall have to resort to “the girl with the pink stetzen.”..etc. There wasn’t a weak link. The concentration in the ensemble was extraordinary for such a young, inexperienced cast. I was most impressed if a little shell-shocked; I am writing this at 8.50 on Sunday night while it is fresh in my mind, to congratulate you all. You had the audience in the palm of your hand!!
I don’t really want to pick out specific actors but in the character of Brick you had a strong linchpin, well thought out and authentic. I don’t like fringes on males or females – I always feel a lot of expression is lost if you can’t act with your forehead. Having said that I was impressed by the girl with the red hair and the pink flower, yes she had a fringe but she acted with her hair, something I have never been able to do! Her stance was very convincing. Stance can be taught. For men, particularly in period costume, if the downstage leg is ramrod straight and the upstage leg is bent and you are slightly angled to the audience you immediately become convincing.
Voice. The voices were very strong particularly in the opening tableaux, but there were times when you all picked up each other’s tones. Every now and again someone found their lower register and it was such a relief. Shouting gets you nowhere; projection gets you noticed.
Concentration. This is so important and you managed to concentrate, in character, most of the time; some were better than others. If your concentration goes the audience stops believing in you. Some of the cast reacted with each other with eye contact. This always works well and looks natural.
Eyes…so important. Some of you acted through your eyes to good effect. Outstanding in his use of eyes (and everything else!) was the short fellow with the turquoise scarf. Here was an amazing performance. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. (Don’t tell him)!! His mimed cigarettes and balletic posture were superb. The mime generally was excellent and consistent.
Gestures. This is such a tricky area. I always need to have a tea towel or some knitting to help me get into the character. Gesture are not just hands. They have to come from inside the character. Peopl’s body language is so revealing. Gestures must finish in a strong line and they must mean something.
The “I was brought up in the East End” speech was convincing. It was good to hear a new (estuary English) accent. It put the sloane rangers accents into perspective. Brick’s American accent was excellent Gary(?) with the red tie was very convincing. I loved the three sisters and Lesley Ponce. Mo unfortunately got stuck behind one of the dreaded Maddermarket Pillars. We’ve all suffered from those!!
I didn’t take offence at the rude things said about critics. My own career was blighted by Bernard Levin but that’s another story…
It was a triumph. Well Done. MORE MORE
J. Molyneux
 8th July, 2012