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

Clock mystery in classy drama

Cheers: Vivienne Cole as Annie, Stan Barten as retired colonel Anthony Hewlett and Stefan Austin as neighbour David Freedman

In Two Minds

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


THIS Richard Harris drama comes expertly packaged by a cast of four under Victoria Wakeman's direction – and its success also owes much to the stage crew who move so speedily between the many snippety scenes.

If, for instance, somebody had forgotten to take that mobile phone offstage in the gloaming, the actor who is required to make an entrance with it thereafter would have had a distinctly let-down feeling.

Full marks, therefore, for the air of all-round efficiency that pervades this tale of suspicion, with our knowing frowns directed at Anthony Hewlett, retired colonel with many years' service behind him, confidently encapsulated by Stan Barten.

Well, if nobody knows where your (second) wife is and you just happen to have incinerated her clothes, the neighbours are probably bound to look a bit askance.

It has to be said that the colonel does not seem unduly moved by being the object of unconfirmed theories. Indeed, if these are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, he is clearly armed with a highly satisfactory shield.

Annie shares a cuppa with Gina, the daily help, ably played by Nikki Fisher

In his calculated calmness, he offers a striking contrast to David Freedman, his new neighbour, who is fretful and awash with angry energy in this eye-catching portrayal by Stefan Austin.

Vivienne Cole is Annie, his pleasingly less highly-charged partner, and Nikki Fisher is Gina, the reliable daily help who has emerged from a relationship with a broken arm, a fractured jaw, two kids, a broom and an air of authority.

This is a production that breathes confidence – but even this is not enough to explain why the author allows us to depart none the wiser about the clock next door. We never discover why it prompts anxiety or why Mr Harris, in weaving it into his tale, presumably thought it ought to. To 28-01-12

John Slim 

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