Midland Players' collection of comedies at Chapel-en-le-Frith Playhouse provided plenty of laughs - review

What an utter joy it was to be back at Chapel Playhouse, watching live theatre, for the first time in around eighteen months, writes Jill Gubbins.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 2:45 pm
Oliver Jenkinson and Nicky Hindmarch in Overruled
Oliver Jenkinson and Nicky Hindmarch in Overruled

What’s Love Got To Do With It is a collection of three comedies and was presented by Midland Players on September 10 and 11.

Smaller casts and separate plays made it easier to rehearse safely, and led to a very entertaining evening.

The first of the trio was Arnold Bennett's The Stepmother, directed by Catherine Newsome.

Kate Spivey and Alison Brelsford in The Stepmother

This featured a lady novelist and her secretary, and confusion over whether the novelists' prospective suitor was responsible for a negative review of her work.

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Alison Brelsford showed a wonderful flair for the dramatic as the novelist and Kate Spivey was also excellent as the underhand, subtly manipulative secretary, who feigned innocence beautifully, and managed to bring events to a satisfying conclusion for both women.

The second play Overruled, by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Joe Otten, told the story of two married couples meeting again at the end of long voyages spent with the wrong spouse.

Charlotte Creasey, Alex Wilson and John Stone in The Proposal

Cue many discussions on the nature of romance and marriage, and the temptation of holiday affairs versus behaving morally.

All four actors acquitted themselves well with a very wordy and sometimes complex script.

The final play of the evening was probably the most farcical - The Proposal by Anton Chekhov, directed by Chris Walker.

It opened with striking costumes, emphasising the Russian setting, and Alex Wilson immediately held the stage as Ivan, who was asking a father for his daughter's hand. His range of facial expressions was excellent in a very physical part.

Corrie Houton and David Reid in Overruled

The actual proposal did not quite go as planned, very quickly descending into thoroughly ridiculous arguments over tiny things - which led to a wonderfully comedic tantrum from Charlotte Creasey, playing the potential fiancée.

She did some top-notch wailing, with fists beating the floor, in an epic strop that would've put any tired toddler to shame.

The group used minimal set and props to good effect to create the three different settings, and overall, it was a highly entertaining evening with plenty of laughs.

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