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

Asking for whom the bell tolls

Dusk Rings a bell

Highbury Theatre Centre


THE Highbury Players take another emotional relationship tale, this time Dusk Rings a Bell, up the stairs and into the boudoir of their intimate studio theatre. Stephen Belber's play of a forgotten teen romance is a well-crafted gripping and realistic drama.

Molly, a now divorced 39 year-old woman, returns to a beach house where her family once spent the summer in the hope of locating a note she hid there long ago. Enter Ray her partner of this almost forgotten brief encounter and the scene is set for them to recollect the past and realise the gaping differences in their own personalities and respective destinies.  

Jayne Lunn who plays Molly is quite outstanding in her role and is a formidable force as the confident career woman. Molly has her quirks and vulnerabilities and Lunn added to those a certain level of sexuality in her performance as the acting calls for a reasonable amount of intimacy with her opposite character.

Mark Nattrass as Ray and Jayne Lunn as Molly meet again by the eastern seaboard beach house where they once had a fling

 Miss Lunn was last seen in Shakers at Highbury and made quite an impression then so it was great to see her close up and in a lead role.

Equally matched in his ability is Mark Nattrass, a familiar Highbury face, whose performance as Ray evokes a man who can't quite reconcile his lack of courage or commitment to care. It is a failing that has seen him being sent to prison and this both intrigues and upsets Molly. Mr Nattrass like Miss Lunn displayed a wide range of skill as they story develops and the potential reconciliation is continually derailed by their pasts.

What is to be commended too from this pairing is the commitment to play out some quite intimate moments in the studio space, always easy for professionals but harder to do in an amateur setting. This made the relationship far more believable and gave credibility to the intricate mood swings.

Faye Hatch directs the play - her first time ever at the helm - and she is to be congratulated as she seems to have drawn out a strong level of confidence in her cast to enter some quite dark and awkward moments.

Congratulations to go to the production team with their simple effective `Boardwalk ‘set, isolated lighting and projection which all fully captured the seaside location and helped tell the story. 

I have said it many times before that sometimes amateur theatre can easily outperform the pros and this is a production that again proves the point. To 18-05-13

Jeff Grant  

Home Reviews A-Z Reviews by affiliate