Ladies In Lavender
Performed 22-24th March 2018
Ladies In Lavender
What could possibly be the outcome of a young man being shipwrecked and washed ashore on a beach in Cornwall?
The year is 1938 and the two sisters who give the young man shelter will have their placid lives turned upside down by this ‘cuckoo in the nest’.
LADIES in Lavender was the latest production by the Riding Mill Drama Club.
The play is an adaptation by Shaun McKenna of the screenplay by Charles Dance.
The well-known film tells the story of two ageing spinster sisters who find a young man washed ashore on the Cornish beach near their house.
They take him in and nurse him back to health discovering, in the process, that he is a talented Polish violinist on his way to America.
Three full houses watched the Riding Mill actors emulate the performances of the film stars and they were not disappointed.
Jean Buckley and Judy Wilthew portrayed the sisters, Ursula and Janet, whose cosy sisterly friendship is turned upside down when Ursula falls in love with the young boy.
The pair brought out the emotional turmoil well, mixing humour and pathos in equal measure. The boy was played by Conor Hilton, a newcomer to the Riding Mill stage.
He gave an assured performance which beautifully captured the dilemma of the young man who ultimately has to choose between saying goodbye to his saviours and the promise of a career as a musician.
In the play, the love of the woman for the boy is mirrored by the growing affection, in his eyes, between the Scottish doctor (Sandy Gardner) and the Russian artist (Hazel Harrison) who persuades the boy to leave this idyllic setting to meet her brother, a famous musician, in London.
These two actors worked well together with Harrison portraying the aloof artist as a perfect foil to Gardner’s naïve attempts to woo her. Susan Cook, as the local housekeeper, made the most of her role, fussing about the boy and berating the sisters.
Her comic timing was excellent as she delivered some of the most amusing lines of the play.
Despite needing a prompt on a couple of occasions, the whole cast kept the pace up well and maintained credible accents throughout.
The director, Moyra Gardner, knowing that neither of her leading men could play the violin ingeniously used two ‘real’ musicians, Colin Dickinson and Will Tyson, to capture the magical moments of live music. The players froze on stage and Colin and Will played in turn in the spotlight.
As patrons have come to expect from Riding Mill, the set was a real work of art. Matt Osmond created an upstairs bedroom, downstairs living room, front garden and even a beach from the space available and yet the whole effect was in no way cramped.
The club is to be congratulated on yet another wonderful show, brought to life by a talented set of actors and stage crew.
Roll on Oh What A Lovely War in November.
By HARRY SCOTT Published 29 March 2018