THEATRE REVIEW: ‘London Suites’, The Chorlton Players

Neil Simon’s London Suite comes to suburban Manchester this weekend in a very warm, emotional and funny look at the eccentricities at other people’s lives. The Chorlton Players will be showcasing the play London Suite at St. Werburgh’s Church Hall from Thursday 21st October until Saturday 23rd. London Suite is combined of four separate stories which reveal the events and conversations which take place in a single London hotel room over a period of time. We see an author enraged by the accountant who has stolen his money, the daughter who is trying against middle-aged angst to get her mother to move on in life, an ageing superstar and her love of the past and finally a farcical tale of a hapless American couple who have no luck to display.

Here at The Kaje, we love creative talent, and in this production there is no lack of it. The members of The Chorlton Players bring to life intricate and dynamic characters who might otherwise have been overlooked if time hadn’t been invested in this play. In particular Maggie Nolan, who plays ‘Lauren’ in Settling Accounts, is masterful as the daughter of a mother stuck very much in a rut. What is conveyed so wonderfully by Nolan is that ‘Lauren’ cares a great deal for her mother but is desperate for her mother to move on in life six years after being widowed. Other stand-out performances come from James Kerr and Eleanor Lynch who play American couple ‘Mark and Annie Ferris’ and who have to deal one another’s anxieties, lost Wimbledon tickets, a room mix-up, a nasty hit on the head and back pain which threatens to ruin their trip. Kerr and Lynch offer a perfect comedy partnership with timing that is spot on every time and delivery which is definitely more inherent than learnt.

Direction from this play came from Annie Wallace who has several stage directions under her belt. Attention to detail was obviously very important to Wallace who was keen to incorporate some drama school techniques when perfecting the actor’s performances. The set too is very convincing, echoing well a high class London hotel room. The props, costumes and sound effects all lend themselves well to this play by delivering a high class and very polished finished product

As local Am-Dram groups go, this one is one of the most local, but it certainly isn’t one of the most amateurish. Taking a difficult and popular play like London Suite and staging it with actors who have to return to their day jobs is no mean feat and so kudos go to the actors and crew of this very stylish and slick performance.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Hugh Hamill

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