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


Anne Troman, Clair Tregellis and Liz Bennett with Thom Handley as Him, the friendly, neighbourhood randyman

Interior Designs and The Regina Monologues

The Circle Players

Aldridge Youth Theatre


WOMEN rule in this double bill staged by the talented Circle Players . . . well they certainly dominate both plays – Interior Designs, by Jimmie Chinn, and The Regina Monologues, by Rebecca Russell and Jenny Wafer.

The stories feature examples of men treating women rather badly and appearing to get away with it, and are well written with loads of humour and plenty of pathos.

Seven women make up the cast, with two of them – Clair Tregellis and Anne Troman - appearing in both tales, while only one man, Thom Handley has a major role.

In the opening comedy, Interior Designs, Thom is in sparkling form as ‘Him’, the arrogant, loud odd job man and serial womaniser whose motto is satisfaction guaranteed, and he is targeted by three very different women customers who all share the same problems – frustration and loneliness.

Clair Tregellis is convincing as Holly, the attractive, well-known TV newsreader, Anne Troman is a hoot as the bubbly, common housewife, Amy, and Liz Bennett impresses as the single teacher, Irene.

When the odious odd-jobber wields his paint brush halfway up his step ladder we see the clearly frustratedwives women making various undisguised approaches to him – even hints that he should, perhaps, decorate their bedrooms - but what comes with the bill?

No scenery is required for the short play, and the only props used are the decorator’s steps and three chairs. It is a very funny play which could laughably be seen as a good recruiting prop for eligible odd job men with plenty of stamina.

Marriage to the power of six: Beth Howell (Jane), Clair Tregellis (Annie), Jenny Culligan (Anna), Jean Kerby (Katherine), Anne Troman (Cathy) and Amy Tregellis (Katie) with the man of their long past dreams.

The second play, The Regina Monologues, certainly has a look of that hit show The Vagina Monologues about it, when the curtain opens to reveal six women spread across stage, sitting on chairs, at a dressing table, or on the double bed which has a framed photo of a ginger gent behind it.

They are supposed to be the 21st century equivalent of the long suffering wives of Henry VIII as they, in turn, address the audience with stories of their personal problems of love and longings, trauma and fear, humour and heartache – each having been married to the same difficult man.

There is never a dull moment as, after each woman has revealed some of her secrets, they switch positions on stage skilfully several times to tell more about their trials and tribulations coping with the man of their (former) dreams.

It works extremely well, with stunning performances from Anne Troman (Cathy), Clair Tregellis (Annie), Beth Howell (Jane), Jenny Culligan (Anna), Amy Tregellis (Katie) and Jean Kerby (Katherine).

Full marks to Carol Grice for her clever direction of both plays. A very enjoyable night out, with food for thought about male-female relations. To 24-10-15

Paul Marston



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