Full houses greeted Peterborough’s prolific playwright Clive Read’s latest play, ‘The Best Man’ at the Indoor Bowls Club on Burton Street last week, with pleasure and rapturous applause.
This was certainly one of his best with one of the most uniformly adept casts directed with pace and a feel for farce so often missing from amateur dramatic offerings. Stephen Gravett and his assistant Vicki Head deserve plaudits a-plenty for their spirited direction of physical comedy and their cajoling of comic timing from talented players.
With more than a hint of Lee Mack, Mark Freeman played the ‘wronged’ best friend Steve beautifully, overlooked as best man by his friend Stuart due to the interference of the bride’s overbearingly dominant mother played by Sue Read, here at the height of her considerable acting game as a Peggy Mount-like character whose voice could shatter glass at 5000 paces.
Wonderfully supported by fine actors: Kirsty Bishop as an occasionally sympathetic sister, Shaun Kane as the befuddled bridegroom and Sarah Goodman as a daughter frightened to challenge her virago of a mother on any matter, things are brought to a head when all the characters converge in Steve’s flat on the morning of the wedding.
Outstandingly good in an excellent company of actors was Brian Havers as Mr. Radley who gave us pathos and humour in an admirably truthful turn as the henpecked husband whose day of reckoning has arrived.
With more than a hint of the classic ‘Sailor Beware’, worms begin to turn and bullies receive their comeuppance with some genuinely funny lines and manic moves along the way.
That being said, this was a well written and tightly performed piece of which The Revellers can be proud.
I wish them every success with their ambitious ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ to be performed at Stamford Corn Exchange in September.
Reviewed by Sandra Samwell