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

Deep end turns out a bit shallow

Helen Lammas (Sandra, left) and Poppy Cooksey-Heyfron (Linda) provide glamour and fun in In at the Deep End.

In at the Deep End

Swan Theatre Amateur Company

Swan Theatre, Worcester


THE company of six works hard to good effect, to give Derek Benfield's comedy an uplift that it badly needs but scarcely deserves.  

There are many funnier offerings to be had than this one, which is set in a health farm where the highly moral manager finds he is suddenly presiding over an unexpectedly naughty emporium, in which, as he tells  us from time to time, the pillars of morality are starting to tremble.

Amid all the comings and goings, the most amusing line for my money turned out to be, “Is that what you're doing – permeating?” Too improbable to explain, but it just tickled my funny-bone.

Martin Davis, as Gerald, the man who has turned up to recharge his batteries, had the misfortune to be troubled by a cold on the first night and this did not help his delivery on occasions – but he keeps the requisite straight face and delivers the necessary desperate lies when his wife turns up unexpectedly and finds that he has got his winsome secretary for company.

She is the simpering Sandra, appealingly played by Helen Lammas and mistaken in the course of the action for the chambermaid who is a secret drinker.

She must surely have overheard something she was not supposed to hear on the first night, when the bathroom door failed to close behind her before the manager and Gerald began having a conversation that was supposed to be private in the room outside.


The manager – Mr Potter – is Christopher Kingsley, understandably prone to stress in the face of some of his sex-seeking visitors, such as the ever-eager and appealingly chirruping Sandra, who was greeted on the first night by wolf whistles.

In this, she was not alone. Poppy Cooksey-Heyfron, as Linda, Gerald's daughter, attracted similar acclaim when she made her first appearance in a swimsuit that was far from large economy size. She later seemed to doubt the ability of her filmy white dress to stay where it was supposed to stay – but she succeeded in preventing its progress southwards, thus forestalling even more acclaim from the auditorium.

Anne Crowther is Marion, wife of Gerald, who greets her unexpected arrival with understandable consternation, as a prelude to her determined romp on the bed with Rodney (James Bacon), the young man whose presence is not apt to go unnoticed by the fair sex.

But this is not a rib-tickler. The cup of good cheer never threatens to overflow, despite the determined and deserving company that graces Andrew Dunkley's production on a clean-cut set that presents the sparsest of spas. To 23-07-11.

John Slim 

Home Reviews A-Z Reviews by affiliate