Linlithgow Plays and Wine

journal and gazette web graphic
journal and gazette web graphic

LET’S Celebrate The Linlithgow Players who rolled out their winning “Plays and Wine” formula last week, staging two more gregarious evenings at Linlithgow Primary hall. Compere and Chairperson Judy Barker drew the expectant and returning audiences through a delightful melee of humourous, poignant and macabre dramatic pieces.

Opening with a lighthearted poke at what happens when Health and Safety bureaucracy looses sight of common sense in “A Nice Cup of Tea” (by Jos Biggs), Charles Mackenzie (Harold) and Barbara Innes (Marion) stirred the incredulous spectators into a series of gasps and giggles as Harold maddenly tries to apply his newly acquired HSE training to their domestic environment.

British playwrights dominated. In the prelude to our internet-dating boom, award-winning Peter Quilter grapples with the challenges of the Singles columns in “Blind Date”. Players Sue Vizard and Ray Myers poignantly presented, with a quickening pace that matched their growing mutual interest. We shifted in our seats at their awkward moments and laughed at their untruthful claims, soon overridden truthful revelations.

Alan Ayckbourn’s only 1-Act play, “A Cut in the Rates”, opened the second half. David Wotherspoon (Mr Ratchett) and Liz Drewett (The Woman) created the sinister and ghostly world of a murderous illusionist. Poor Ms Picket from the Townhall Rating Office, capriciously portrayed by Judy Barker, is entirely distracted from her debt-collecting duties.

A good helping of Scots variety spiced up the evenings. In “The Return of Bruce and the Spider”, out of Aberdonian ‘Scotland the What’, Brian Peebles (Bruce) and Eleanor Bain (Spider) led us through a riotous and wry commentary on history, football and politics and not necessarily in that order! We then flew west to old-time favourite Glaswegian radio show, as Willie McFlannel of The McFlannels, gets himself in hot water. Set in the recording studio, Sound Man (Thom Pollock) hilariously endeavours to deliver every effect using his vast array of props, literally putting his wholeself into the wash tub as the McFlannels (Sandra Moar, David Wotherspoon, Lorna Irving, Mike McCormick and David Mackie) are brought to life.

The evening fillers, a little singing and two contrasting monologues, were no less worthy for their size. David Mackie and James Kerr crooned us slickly into the world of High Society with ‘Well Did You Ever’. We heard an excerpt from Arthur Miller’s rarely-performed After the Fall, the dilemmas of conscience hauntingly vocalised by Sue Vizard. And instantly connecting us to her world of ‘Ceilings’,actress Liz Drewett enthralled us in Leonard Morley’s touching and comedic piece. Two good descriptors for these two dramatic evenings.

Review written by Serena Jones.