Wombourne Players successfully chose to present Key for Two by John Chapman and Dave Freeman for their biannual performances.
Central to the play is the vivacious Harriet (Sarah Aldridge) whose living expenses are met by two married lovers. Each man thinks he is the only one in Harriet’s life, and she orchestrates their comings and goings with expert artistry.
When a fishy mishap results in an accident , and chaos ensues playing out like a car crash in slow-motion over the evening. The arrival of Anne, Harriets friend and her estranged husband Richard, further complicate matters and when the lovers’ wives join them Harriets’ web of lies deepens.
Sarah Aldridge as Harriet, is a master juggler in an increasingly complex scenario, and is a delight to watch as she spins devising and ingenious lies to keep from being discovered.
She is a natural actor able to make complexity seem easy, successfully convincing one of the lovers’ wives that her flat is in fact a nursing home.
This lie culminates in the closing line of the play: three of the ‘staff’ of the ‘nursing home’ are on a bed drinking champagne, while Harriet, with characteristic calm, bluffs “We’re having a staff meeting”.
This play demands snappy timing which the Players’ cast provided. The performance was well paced and smooth.
Mike Frost as the northern trawlerman was brilliantly grumpy and Steve Clark as Gordon was excellently hen pecked.
Deb Ward as Anne was witty and flirty keeping the male audience content.
The two wives were a great contrast, Caroline Rabone’s demanding Magda and Mel Broadbent as the straight talking Mildred, both showing paramount dimness to miss all the clues in the subterfuge.
Finally Jez Cartwright played the alcoholic Vet Richard exquisitely with his drunken sprawling, after a tepid start. He also created the largest laugh of the night when he cast his eye despondently on Mildred’s discarded fox fur and solemnly slurred “I’m afraid it’s too late”.
The set was cunning crafted, a tardis like two bedroom flat that managed to hold 7 people at once. Adrian Steele directed his company well, and if light comedy is the staple of Amateur dramatics, then the Wombourne Players excelled.