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The Taieri Dramatic Society continued its 70th anniversary celebrations with a play written and directed by Geoff Smith, regular local performer, director and onstage man. Bangers 'n' Mash opened at the Fire Station Theatre last Wednesday night, taking me back to the 1950s and '60s, when town and country districts had amateur dramatic clubs, and competed provincially in various one-act categories for places in national finals.
Bangers 'n' Mash is a comedy, extravagantly penned with corny Kiwi one-liners, which had the audience chuckling throughout, and relates the weekend activities of five miscellaneous "senior" flatmates. All have very different characters, and the plot and overall success of the play relies on the flair and interpretation of each actor.
Dan is a down-to-earth guy, whose portrayal by Keith Richardson is pivotal in every scene, but which should really have been dominated by Gwyneth (Kay Masters), a socially superior person from a long line of magistrates, who I felt vocally underplayed the "poshness" of her many deliveries, written to dictate to and correct absolutely everyone and everything. "One peels potatoes - not spuds!", "One must dress for dinner" and "it's Gwyneth, not Gwyn!"
Marion's (Gloria Harris) Saturday birthday celebrations included a helicopter ride over Dunedin, complimentary lunch in Mosgiel and dinner at the flat. Evelyn (Stacey Gribben) and Gerald (Peter Whigham) are the other flatmates and Raymond (Doug Leggett) a surprising visitor at the birthday dinner. Bitchy one-liners flowed freely, as did the merlot and other beverages. At times the pace dragged a little - however, I must say my attention was totally held throughout, trying to anticipate the eventual outcome and climax of the storyline.
The action took place in a very workable set, with attention to detail. The sound of sizzling Hasselback potatoes was almost edible, and Marion's cat onesie definitely deserved the "saucer of milk" and "tomcat" rhetoric from her rude, opinionated flatmates.
- Elizabeth Bouman