Make Way for Lucia by E. F. Benson

adapted for the stage by John van Druten

Click on a picture to start the slideshow (photographs by Malcolm Corbin).
















Make Way for Lucia was directed by Hilary Lee-Corbin

Players deliver another fine performance

The Tilbourne Players are to be congratulated yet again. I witnessed a taut and gripping performance of Make Way for Lucia, based on the novels by E.F. Benson, that was adapted for the stage by John van Druten.

From the moment the curtains opened, a procession of focused, well-rehearsed and evidently talented actors were presented to the audience.

Major Flint (Nigel Dams) gave a grounded and well-connected performance as a bombastic ex-military bachelor, and who played a foil to an excellent performance by Miss Mapp (Sara Wilson-Soppitt).

Sara's stage presence was particularly good. Godiva Plaistow (Marion Homer) ws a gently understated comic role that really brought her character to life, and Grosvenor (Daisy Edwards) ably portrayed an unflappable and discreet housemaid of the period.

I noted Georgie Pilson (Ian Wilson-Soppitt) for his good comic timing and excellent character presentation, and Jane Quicke give a fine and expressive performance in the role of Mrs Lucas. I thought her stage presence was commanding too.

Both Mr and Mrs Wyse (Jo and Di Huddlestone) gave well-nuanced performances, and an entirely believable vicar and his wife were played by Noel Thompson and Caryl Griffith. Noel's Scottish accent was sustained throughout and Caryl's portrayal was delightful.

I was particularly impressed by John Hilder's depiction of the Italian composer Signor Cortese, both in terms of his physicality and the accent of his character. His performance was excellent throughout.

One of the pitfalls of directing a play with a sizeable cast and from a small company of actors lies in the casting. In this regard, the director Hilary Lee-Corbin has worked wonders. Everyone grasped their characters with alacrity and connection. There wasn't a single 'stock character' anywhere in the production.

Finally, due credit should also be given to the entire production team led by Rob Durrant, especially some ingenious aspects of the set design (that was a real grand piano on stage - wasn't it?)

And I remember June Cass, who remained focused and on-cue in her role as prompt (she was only needed once) and yet in the midst of a long play responded instantly with the needed line. I really enjoyed this production. When can I come again?

Peter Evans