In by the Half by Jimmie Chinn

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Review in the Farnham Herald:

Excellent Drama from the Tilbourne Players

This thriving drama group continues to showcase ever more burgeoning talent. Its latest production of two one-act plays on 14th and 15th September confirmed that the standard of directing, performance and production remains consistently high. Added to this was the thrill of presenting the first ever play of a brand new playwright from Haslemere!

‘In by the Half’ by Jimmie Chinn, marked the directorial debut of Sara Wilson-Soppitt. A hugely talented actress herself, Sara proved that she was more than equal to the task.

We meet ‘Madam’, a once distinguished actress, living out her fading years unable to relinquish her former glory. The show must go on – even if there is no audience, no theatre and actually no play. Her long-suffering housekeeper, Doris, must collude in the charade and ‘dress’ her for each performance. Madam parades her skills in front of her hapless untalented student, Sylvia, but is disturbed by the arrival of her estranged daughter, Ursula. Madam’s acting has even extended into her mothering role and it takes the news of Ursula’s terminal illness for the former actress finally to choose to remove her mask and face the truth of past family relationships.

This was a consummate performance by Marion Homer as Madam. The play could have been written for her. Her characterisation was superb and Tilbourne Players are fortunate indeed to boast an actress of Marion’s calibre within its ranks. More excellent performances by the rest of the cast: Caryl Griffiths (Doris) played the perfect foil to ‘Madam’ needing to ‘act the part’ with wit and great comic timing. Helen Phillips (Ursula) gave a compellingly poignant performance as the neglected, misunderstood, yet insightful daughter. Anastasia Alexandru (Sylvia) brought much mirth to the stage as she had to act as though she couldn’t, which she most definitely can! And it was great to welcome Dawn Barrow in her first performance on the Tilbourne stage as the wry and forbearing doctor.

Credit too to the stalwart production team, led by the Players’ chairman, Rob Durrant, who all work tirelessly behind the scenes as well as providing the audience with fish and chips! Next production: Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ 22nd – 24th November. You will not want to miss it!

Jane Quicke

In by the Half was directed by Sara Wilson-Soppitt