THERE can be few things more disappointing and disheartening
for an actor, whether amateur or professional, than
for the curtains to open to reveal a half-full house.
For this reason I felt a lot of sympathy for the
Wesley Players, who have been performing William
Douglas Home's The Chiltern Hundreds, at Priory
Methodist Church, Bedford.
On Friday night there were almost as many seats
unoccupied as occupied, for a performance which
deserved a much better attendance. The eight characters
all worked hard at turning in a highly competent,
lively and enthusiastic act.
play deals with the domestic confusion surrounding
an election which sees a candidate's parents voting
for the opposite party. He has other problems in
the shape of a bossy and bullying American fiancee,
played by Susan Barker.
I don't envy anyone having to put on a drawling
American accent for an entire evening, but Susan
seemed to manage quite well.
As the Earl of Lister, Don Edwards played a blasé,
self-effacing-character, but provided some funny
convincing actor, in my book, was Russ Hemming as
the servant Beecham. With his intrusions into his
master's life, he gives a local newspaper a grossly
exaggerated quote, about- the election result, and
his strong opinions of the aristocracy he seemed a
highly believable character.
I found The Chiltern Hundreds fairly amusing; but
it fell quite a long way short of -the enjoyment reading
which says "Hilarious". While not faulting
the players, the play did seem a little bit slow-moving