Where There's A Will...
Norman Robbins
27 - 29 Jun 2012
Hannah Brodie

The old Yorkshire saying "where there's a will there's relations" was brought vividly to life by the Jubilee Players in their most recent production.

As a member of the group I hope you do not find my review to be biased, as I firmly believe that the Jubilee Players are their own strongest critics. The result of which I feel is clear when viewing any play they produce.

Their performance of Where there's a Will "a murderously funny farce" by Norman Robbins, left the audience in turn laughing and being horrified by the actions of the mourners at the funeral of Edie Puddiphat. Each dry-eyed mourner arrived at the funeral grasping a will promising them her millions and as the play unfolds and the characters conspire to keep the fortune to themselves, their plight becomes even more frenetic.

This was yet again another thoroughly accomplished production by our local amateur thespians, which had the audience chuckling throughout, particularly at the end when all was revealed.

I find it impossible to pick out any one person as being a stand out performer, as all parts whether large or small were fulfilled to their maximum potential.

Velma Newton, played by Libby Henshaw, was simply dazzling and down right obnoxiousness from start to finish, a character you couldn't help but love.  Two ladies sitting in the row ahead of me quipped 'Good isn't she?' 'Do you think she's like that in real life?' I had to bite my tongue not to pass comment, but I can assure you ladies she isn't! (Well, not all of the time). Fordyce (Velma's step son) was a supposedly weak, quiet character who evolved beautifully as the story unfolded.  Neil Sumser-Lupson mastered this role with his dodgy goatee, gold hoop earring and knock off designer suit to complete the package!

Sue Brodie played a very demure Genista Royal, faithful housekeeper to the recently deceased. But like so many of the other characters eventually her true colours shone through with Genista shocking the audience with her conniving behaviour, a delightful performance from Sue.  Sue Phillips mastered playing a wonderful drunk (although I don't think she had to put on much of an act for this role!)  Joking aside, playing an inebriated character for such long periods of time is an unenviable task, but Sue's entire performance of Miriam Holt was excellent and kept me giggling throughout with her no nonsense, straight talking humour.

Brian and Gay Lloyd were as usual flawless in their roles as bewildered Rev Arthur Peasgood and frail Cissie Cunnigham. I find it hard to say much more than this, as they always deliver year after year and are as ever a joy to watch.

Ros Chamberlin brilliantly played Bella Moore, a pushy mummy in every sense to her daughter Donna and future son in law,Troy.  A delightful trio of money grabbing, distant relatives who would stop at nothing to get what they want.  Which in this instance is all the money left in the Puddiphat Will, specifically to pay for a 'plush' wedding in Vegas and round the world cruise for the heavily pregnant Donna and her stripper fiancé.  Shea Jay played a brilliantly trashy Yorkshire lass with hilarious costume, facial expressions and dance moves to match.  Her character was complimented beautifully by her fiancé played by Ray Tempesta (a newcomer to the group), hopefully we will see him gracing the stage in the Tithe Barn again, but perhaps in more clothes next time!

This production was the complete package, scenery, lighting, sound and costumes were all flawless.  The attention to detail never ceases to amaze me and I strongly believe this is what sets the Jubilee Players apart from other amateur groups.

Well done Neil Phillips, a welcome return to the directing role.  For a while it seems Neil would spend the rest of his days directing pantos, but thankfully he has decided to give a 'grown up' play a go! (I've heard he's directing Calender Girls next year - I can't think why!)

Finally, Happy Anniversary to the Jubilee Players (35 years young!), as both a group and audience member I sincerely hope there are many more productions to follow in the future.