Venue: Drama Barn
Runs: 1-3 June 2012
Director: Georgia Harris
Producer: Laura Stratford
Great costumes but unfortunately, Stags and Hens was a rather lacklustre performance. The plot was itself was rather predictable which may have been the underlying problem, but opening night nerves didn’t help either. However, the actors certainly showed potential in the more serious scenes, void of the repetitive smutty humour which characterised the rest of the piece.
The Hens certainly outshone the Stags in first half of the performance. The dynamics as a group worked well, each hen distinguishing a certain stereotype. However, it was not long after the novelty of their Scouse accents wore off, and the rather repetitive nature of the dialogue became apparent.
Linda (Kat Ronson) was an intriguing character, different from her counterparts not only through her choice in costume but in her manner also. She played her role with a greater deal of subtlety which was effective in inciting the audience’s interest in her and her situation. The energy which the other hens created, constantly gossiping and giggling was effective in contrasting to Linda’s manner, this conveyed a certain tension so apt for a hen night where the pre-wedding nerves are inevitably running high.
Georgia Harris, the director did well to enhance a play which was slow in its plot development. By dividing Hens to one side of the stage and the Stags to the other the action of the two parties was intensified as they manifested side by side on the stage.
Billy (Alex Ferguson) stood out for his performance; his desperation to be one of the lads was humorous and at times quite touching. This feeling of sympathy towards Billy’s character evoked a sincere reaction which was important in creating an element of depth to the play, which it had previously lacked.
Eddy (Lewis Chandler), also commanded the audience’s attention, through the sheer force of his character, tempestuous, violent and troubled, he contrasted starkly with the other Stags. His stage presence was very strong to the point where other characters seemed to orbit around him. What was impressive, was the way in which he harnessed his accent to enhance a roughness to his character, while others depended on the Liverpudlian twang to carry off their comic lines.
The performance picked up after the introduction of Peter (Jon Edwards), as his character allowed the plot to develop. His gentle easygoing manner was successful in reflecting the restlessness of the characters, a very important theme in a play which explores the predetermined lives of a small town community.
The performance delivered solid acting and a good dose of humour, but it lacked momentum and depth which failed to make it stand out as a drama barn performance.