REVIEW: Norman Robbins’ Prescription for Murder, Newick Amateur Dramatic Society, Newick Village Hall.

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On the night of a general election it was such a pleasure to escape into the friendly and welcoming embrace of the ever gregarious Newick Amateur Dramatic Society and enjoy an evening of pretence and diversion unrelated to the pretence and diversion happening in the political world outside.

Prescription for Murder was the perfect getaway to relax and enjoy a thoroughly well written, directed and produced play. Director, the hugely talented Ciaran Kiely, led from the front with a great interpretation of the piece and well directed, highly motivated cast; of which he was also a member. I know only too well, from regular personal experience, all of the pitfalls of taking a part and joining a cast on stage while also directing. The tendency is to do the honourable thing and put the lion’s share of effort into helping the rest of the cast achieve a great performance ahead of your own. Ciaran’s cast were certainly given that; a very well drilled and highly capable bunch and had obviously had a great directorial input. However I was delighted to see that Ciaran’s own performance had not suffered and was in fact a particularly outstanding highlight. Playing the role of Eric Dawson he gave us cause for some lovely empathetic moments as well as a chilling character twist right at the end. Principal leads Sarah McKinney-Green [Barbara Forth] and Steve Jarvis [Dr. Richard Forth] were utterly convincing throughout and were incredibly well supported by excellent character performances from the remaining cast Kristie Negus as Dorothy Livingstone a wonderfully relaxed housekeeper and friend to Barbara, David Read played the hen pecked Allan Haigh to hilarious perfection and Clare Jaques delivered a sultry maneating performance as Julia Moore. However I was especially shocked to find out after the show that Ruth Lewis was enjoying her first ever on stage role as her portrayal of the overbearing wife Mary Haigh was exceptional for any seasoned performer, let alone a relative novice. I predict a fulfilling performing future for Ruth. She along with the entire cast must be highly congratulated on totally captivating the audience and drawing them into a great plot; one with more twists and turns than any political machinations we have endured recently. Behind every great show there’s always a great team and the set designed by David Read and built by a huge team of NADS volunteers was realistic and had nice detailing, Rajesh Nair and Jo Andrews sound and lighting were spot on and costumes and props By Marie Palmer and Barbara Bone respectively were superb. To round off a lovely evening, as always, front of house manager Terry Bone extended the superb NADS welcome, one which is as typical of this friendly and talented company as it is unique. Along with meeting the entire cast, I was also treated to a backstage tour to see the excellent technical facilities and was very impressed to learn that none other than Sir Dirk Bogarde had cut his teeth on this very stage. Producer Barbara Bone should be very proud of her production and her company! First class!

Lance Milton.