HERMIT'S TALE - KEEPER OF THE KEYS - THAT CEPHALLONIA MOMENT
Warkworth Drama hit new heights of live dramatic entertainment in their latest ‘Three-for One’ cabaret-style show, with the company’s full range and versatility on show in three short plays staged each night 2nd - 4th September in the Memorial Hall.
Pru Heathcote’s short play adaptation of ‘The Hermits Tale’ saw a strong performance by Mike Dixon as the ‘Hermit’, in the role of the chorus, re-telling the tragic story behind the Warkworth Hermitage. The supporting ‘backdrop’ of a re-enactment of the tale switching between modern and mediaeval, dramatic and pageant styles, was a difficult achievement on a small stage, but one in which the eight-strong cast rose to the challenge of portraying a total of fifteen roles between them.
This historical local tale was followed by ‘Keeper of the Keys’. Simultaneously funny, nostalgic and poignant, and beautifully paced under Lindy Conway’s direction, Ralph Firth’s short play reflecting on the consequences of demographic change in today’s rural communities is brought to life with a brilliant performance and an excellent set. The story is as much part of Northumberland’s heritage as the ‘Hermit’s Tale’. The production is a gem of a character performance by Meg Dixon, whose talent for audience engagement brings intimacy to the reminiscences of ageing ‘Olive’ whose world disintegrates as her neighbours are replaced by investment landlords, ‘holiday lets’ and ‘second homes’. A powerful comment on society and rural change everywhere, Ralph Firth’s wonderful script withstands comparison with nationally renowned contemporaries, including Alan Bennett’s ’Enjoy’.
The third production of the evening was the premiere of Ralph Firth’s newest play, ‘That Cephallonia Moment’. The show explodes onstage as ‘Ben’ and ‘Kathy’, a couple divorced after a short failed marriage, tumble into an unexpected passionate one-night stand in a hotel after meeting again at a family funeral. Slick, witty and nuanced, this production starts with a literal ‘bang’ and continues apace throughout. Daniel Mumby and Ruth Potts are utterly convincing as the couple reflecting on their relationship, teasing out the truth and exposing the lies about their lives and feelings, and finally discovering who indeed contrived to throw them together again. Directed by Lindy Conway, assisted by Antonia Giacomini, the play strikes raw nerves and funny-bones alike in a romp which keeps the audience engaged and on the edge from start to finish. This is one to look out for again!