Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

spirits on the level

Spirit Level

Circle Players

Aldridge Youth Theatre


PAM Valentine’s play introduces us to Susie (Carol Grice) and Jack Cameron (Clive Barlow) casually chatting in the lounge of their country cottage when estate agent Mark Webster (John Richardson) lets himself in.

It soon becomes clear that Susie and Jack are not as normal as they first seem.  In fact Jack, a successful author and his designer clothing clad wife Susie, had drowned in a boat accident in Italy.

Having been turned away from the pearly gates because of Jack’s self-professed atheism; they are now haunting their previous home in a bid to scare away any would be residents.

The story unfolds as budding author Simon Willis (Lee Tregellis) and his pregnant wife Felicity (Sophie Rowe) take on the lease and move in. With the help of Susie’s officious Guardian Angel Mrs Gravestock (Liz Bennett) the Camerons set about helping the struggling couple settle in.

Tregellis and Barlow give good performances but the show stealer was Margaret Jeffcoat as Felicity’s mother Marcia Bradshaw. A harridan otherwise known as the Beast of Bradshaw! Jeffcoat gives a very convincing and memorable performance, providing us with the only real laugh out loud moment when ‘under the influence of the spirits’ she romps around on the sofa!

In the programme, Anne Troman (Director), explains that she was faced with a need to change the originally planned production and after a weekend of searching stumbled across Spirit Level.

On the surface, this play looks like a perfect choice with a decent funny script, one stage setting and a small cast. Sadly though, The Circle Players didn’t quite manage to deliver. It is not clear if the rehearsal time was affected by the change of play but it did feel somewhat tentative. Some of the actors were not very adept at ‘not seeing’ the ghosts and this made some of the action rather unbelievable.

Some hesitant delivery of lines, lack of pace in parts and timing issues hindered the performance. This play has the potential to achieve lots of good hearty laughter but that was not realised, and the audience responded with only a smattering of polite laughter.

That being said, some of this may have been due to opening night nerves and gremlins. If they pick up the pace and become more confident throughout the run, the Circle Players could very well achieve a thoroughly entertaining performance. So, don’t be put off, give them your support, it’s always easier for actors to deliver to a larger, responsive audience. The company have obviously worked hard to bring this production to the stage, all it needs now is a little more ‘spirit’. To 18-02-17

Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith


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