Out Of Focus
by
Peter Gordon
23 - 25 Oct 2019

You can always rely on Jubilee players to provide audiences with an entertaining evening and their autumn production of Peter Gordon’s Out of Focus maintained their usual high standards.

The ‘panto within a play’ format gave ample opportunity for chaos which began as nine ill-assorted  characters were thrown together by mischance and found themselves in rehearsal rather than leading a Brownie pack, playing badminton or providing an illuminating lecture on steam locomotives (of the 1950s and ‘60s).

The vicar’s wife played with convincing haplessness by Sue Furness is charged with directing this motley band, a task which drives her to despair, at least until she explores the delights of alcohol as the final performance mercifully brings the fiasco to an end, enabling her submerged personality to cut loose from the controlling influence of her unseen husband, the Reverend Donald Duck(worth).

Her cast do their best - at least when they’re not walking out in a strop or caught in the crossfire of marital disharmony, desperate female predators and dysfunctional masculinity. Thank goodness that Jubilee Players don’t have to labour under this burden of inadequacy, all ‘cast members’ skilfully conveying the spirit of their ‘characters’

Hannah Cunningham played the suspicious (with good reason) spouse with spiky assertiveness while Paul Skippings as her husband froze under her basilisk stare, only escaping for the occasional ‘conference’ at which he could engage in ‘essential business liaison’ with ‘luscious Linda’, a role in which Michelle Jay revelled when she wasn’t teasing and encouraging the attention of social misfit number one, Wayne, a part that Ray Tempesta played with full conviction. Equally at home was social misfit number two, Leonard, the man of 101 boring lectures and endless optimism; Neil Phillips was perfectly cast.

Completing the dramatis personae were the eternal triangle: policeman David nicely portrayed by Neil Sumser-Lupson as a mouse trapped between the eminently sensible Sue, a role performed admirably by Sue Phillips and the voracious Akela played with splendid excess by Rosalind Chamberlin. Gradually, and to the complete blindness of the latter, David makes his decision and announces that he has become affianced to sensible Sue and Akela has to return to bullying her Brownies.

That the cast - of the play’ in contrast to that of the ‘panto’ – could create order out of chaos was not only due to their individual performances but to the sharp direction of Libby Henshaw; it ensured that a good pace was maintained throughout the performance.

Another super evening, Jubilee players; your loyal audience looks forward to your summer production.