Wrington Drama Club: One Way Pendulum              Wednesday, 8th May, 2013
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One Way Pendulum gave Wrington Drama Club the opportunity to indulge in a nostalgic dip into the period somewhere ‘between the Lady Chatterley ban and the Beatles’ first LP’. Along with A Resounding Tinkle, probably the best-known of N.F. Simpson’s plays, at the time it was pigeonholed, to the author’s annoyance, under the tag ‘Theatre of the Absurd’. One can now see its origins in the rich vein of British surrealism that runs through Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Beachcomber and the Goons; and one can clearly detect its influence on much famous comedy that was to come later, for example, Beyond the Fringe, the plays of Joe Orton, and Monty Python. The action takes place in a suburban home, which is gradually transformed into a court room. The characters are members of a dysfunctional family who live in a house full of mysterious objects - weighing machines, assorted wooden structures. The dialogue is riddled with non-sequiturs, and pushes logic way beyond its logical boundaries, and the plot, such as it is, is nonsensical
One of the real delights of this production was the ‘business’ developed by various characters while others were holding centre stage: Pat Milne, as the Usher, and Jayne Young (Clerk of the Court) fiddling with their belongings: Chris Parnham (Aunt Mildred) trying to work out how to use a huge pair of binoculars, Moira Shapland (Mabel) manically ironing, or shuffling the cornflakes, and Fern Urquhart (Myra) eating them. And they were all so good: Luke Graham, a scowling young Kirby, trying to teach his collection of Speak Your Weight machines to sing the Hallelujah Chorus; Jim Swords and Simon Medd, aggressive uber-logical barristers; Peter Jones as the bewildered Judge; Julie Kirby as sulky teenager Sylvia, worrying that her arms were too short to reach her knees; Adam Hall as her dopey boyfriend Stanley; Michael Berkley as Arthur, the bumbling obsessive father; Mark Bullen as Barnes, who fulfilled the rôle of narrator. I could go on... So did it work? Yes, it was a most enjoyable production, very funny, at times even hilarious. Fred Cowgill and Echo Irving directed a fine uptempo production. The cast and crew of Drama Club regulars, with one or two newer faces, were, to a man and woman, superb. How they managed to keep straight faces as the absurdities of the action and the dialogue unrolled, I cannot imagine. ST.                                                                   Photos by Papa Ratzo
Production photos