REVIEW: Entertaining Angels, Harrogate Dramatic Society, Harrogate Studio Theatre

Harrogate Dramatic Society must consider itself truly fortunate in having found Gill McVey to direct its production of Entertaing Angels by Richard Everett.

There was no sign in this fantastic production that this was Gill’s debut as a director for the society.

In what could have been a play dominated by the character of the widowed Grace the director ensured that all five characters had their share of the limelight.

This is not to suggest that Lesley Wheal did not give a bravura performance as Grace, successfully moving between comedic misery and heartbroken wife.

She was the heart of the play and her scenes with the ghost of her husband Bardolph were truly touching.

She was ably supported by Janet Wilson as Ruth, the missionary sister, who had managed to portray her nervousness in the presence of her younger sister long before the disturbing revelations half way through the play.

Sally Bendtson as Sarah was a very modern vicar bringing light relief with her constant mobile phone calls and easily making the audience believe that she would be welcomed by her new parish.

Kate Button as Grace’s daughter Jo, constantly mediating between her mother and aunt brought just the right light touch to her part as loving but exasperated daughter. Then there was David Williams as Bardy who provided the reflective moments and made you believe that Grace could have been devoted to him for40 years.

Acted on a set that somehow managed to bring a colourful serene vicarage garden to the studio theatre this was truly an ensemble piece, beautifully acted, that sent its audience away buzzing happily.

The society presents Brief Encounter at the theatre from May 25 to 27.