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

Cool is a long way from perfection

Jane Wootton is an incredulous publisher but Frank Welbourne is a man who can take his son's surprises in his stride – even when the son (Keith Thompson) does rather go to extremes.

Nobody's Perfect

Swan Theatre Amateur Company

Swan Theatre, Worcester


SIMON WILLIAMS has penned a pleasing comedy, Sue Smith has directed it deftly and the company of four bring it frothily to fulfilment. What more could an audience want?

Well, for a start, the air conditioning that cost a pretty penny when the theatre was dark, not all that long ago, needs to be fitted with a silencer. Either that, or there must be further investment – this time, in a sound system that will enable the players to overcome it, because the company frequently lost its battle to be heard on the first night and there were understandable mutterings from the patrons in the interval.

That was a shame, because the evening encompassed many joyous moments, particularly courtesy of Frank Welbourne, a gentle joy of surprise and naughtiness who stops the show in the second half with his version of You make me feel so young. This is a delightful account of a grandfather who wears drollery like a second skin but is more likely to feel at home in a strip club than to stay at home in his slippers.

Keith Thompson is Leonard, his middle-aged son; a statistician whose secret is that he writes romantic novels under the pseudonym of Myrtle Banbury – which is fine until Harriet Copeland, his new publisher, wants to meet Myrtle. Inevitably, the publisher turns up to fulfil her ambition. The door is thus wide open for cross-dressing, misunderstandings, hasty back-tracking and cover-ups – which simply makes it more difficult to understand why for some time after the interval the action goes into decline during a scene that doesn't seem to get us anywhere.


Fortunately, the writer eventually gives us something we can get our teeth into again and even if Leonard's desperate arrival in falsetto disguise as Myrtle Banbury is not in itself sufficient to sustain our amusement once the initial surprise has worn off, there is enough going on to demonstrate that the play has recovered its original momentum.

Jane Wootton, as Harriet, has a lively and natural air – and a delightful smile that actually looks as if she means it, rather than being something that will be abandoned at the end of the final performance.

I was relieved to see that Verity Naughton, as Leonard's daughter Dee Dee, took only seven minutes to abandon the foul mood in which she was required to arrive, even though such a rapid transformation would normally prompt questions from students of the human psyche – because she, too, becomes a smiler, albeit one with reservations about what is beginning to go on around her.

She did, however, like Frank Welbourne, have particular problems in the battle with the air conditioning. It is clear that unless something is done to solve the problem, anyone who steps onto the stage at the Swan will simply have to shout or carry a megaphone. And that would be a shame.

Nobody's perfect? But at least everybody gets nearer to that admirable condition than the theatre's intended improvement to its nightly environment has so far managed. To 22.5.10.

John Slim  

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