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

Nothing saintly about George

Dying to meet you: Jen Eglinton as Madam Xenia, Pam Meredith (standing) as Mrs Mercy, Rachel Lawrence (crouching) as Childie and Sue Downing as George 

The Killing Of Sister George

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


What a perfect space the intimate Rose theatre's studio is for The Nonentities' production of this wonderfully comic yet dark play directed by Tori Wakeman.

Sister George played excellently by Sue Downing (fabulous wig) is the most popular character in an Archers-style radio series called Applehurst, where she plays the village nurse.

Her real name is June Buckridge, yet most of her friends refer to her as George – the beloved character she plays, although her real life persona could not be more different.  

As you enter the studio you walk directly into June's flat, full of gin bottles, cigars, radio awards for excellence and some creepy porcelain dolls that belong to her lodger Alice “Childie” McNaught played by Rachel Lawrence.

In truth June is an ex-army, no nonsense, gin guzzler who has a slightly sadistic attitude to her lodger “Childie” – it is implied throughout that June is a lesbian and quite possible in some sort of relationship with Childie although this is never confirmed in the dialogue.

She does however have a very strong, domineering hold of her which although played comically gives you a little shiver of pity for “Childie”. Rachel Lawrence's portrayal of “Childie” - an adult who really still behaves and acts as a child is a really good performance – you almost want to get up and take her away from the life she is living.

When Mrs Mercy Croft (Pam Merdith) arrives from the BBC June is thrown into turmoil, is this once popular character losing her following? Will she have the axe from her beloved Applehurst? Well you'll just have to get to The Rose to find out.

Sue Downing as June is superb in this masculine complex role, effortlessly switching from her stiff upper lip accent as June to her farmer dialect of Sister George. While the comedy in her portrayal of the character is hilarious you also get a deep sympathy for her as really this is a very unhappy woman.  

Pam Meredith as Mercy was exactly how I would picture a BBC executive in the 60's – sharp suites, terribly proper (or is she) and matter of fact – a part played well by Meredith.

Jen Eglinton plays Madam Xenia the eccentric, Middle Eastern, medium who lives downstairs and a friend to June. The character doesn't appear all that often and isn't really pivotal to plot, however she has some of the best comic lines of the play. Eglinton executed them with perfect comic timing – a real joy to watch.

A really entertaining night out – how theatre should be! Catch it before it finishes on Saturday. To 17-11-12. Two hours 30 mins – one 5 minute comfort interval and one 20 minute interval.

Eva Easthope 

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