Stretham Players certainly know how to entertain. In a packed house, the contrasting characters of Trisha (played by Barbara Gray), Liz (Carole Gentry), Viv (Maureen Hutter) and Mary (Donna Bright) bonded together delightfully in a skilfully written play by Lindsey McAuley. There was no doubt why the play called ‘Brittle Women’ was voted “Best New Play” at the Cambridge Drama Festival 2007.
This one act show was permeated with a constant flow of humour in the guise of witty turns of phrase, humorous situations and a healthy good laugh at the frailty of human nature. This was balanced well with explorations into the darker sides of life and death such as the devastating effects of cancer and bereavement.
Chatterbox Liz with a phenomenal number of lines to learn filled the stage with her warmth and her joy in the trivialities of every day matters. Glam puss Viv described as “mutton dressed up as lamb” had us roaring with laughter at her obsession with the opposite sex and her failed plot to seduce the new vicar.
Trisha’s directness and her drive to enjoy her last few years to the full gave us pause for thought at our own immortality and mild Mary was seen to develop strength from the group and eventually stand up to her abusive husband.
This brief picture of the lives of these believable characters was brought to life by highly competent acting and by the impressive directing of Richard Purkiss. Invaluable support was also provided by the producer Alison, Kelly, Leigh Stephenson (stage manager), Tim Kelly (lighting), Adam Broom (sound), Angela Fordham (props) and Chas Gentry and Matt Creak (front of house).
There is every reason to hope that this play will do well in the second round of the competition in Luton.