Sitting Pretty - by Amy Rosenthal
18th, 19th, 20th January 2006


          Production Team
Nancy Sylvia Zilesnick   Director Wendy Butler
Nina Christine Eckley   Production Assistant Jonica Brown
Max Roger Barker   Stage Manager John Haylett
Phillip Mark Langham   Assistant Stage Manager Irene Jones
Zelda Sophie Robertson   Properties Lesley Francis
Josie Jean Cooper   Assistant Properties Paul Mansfield
Sylvia Jean Grover   Costumes Christine Eckley 
Martin Martin Howarth   Continuity Lisa  Maule
Bridget Marilyn Sovitch   Set Design and construction Peter Gerlis
Luca Marc Sardinha   Lighting Design Terry Tew
      Sound Design Anne Satchwell
      Sound/Lighting Operation Andrew Rogers

Review by Anne Horne

Firstly, congratulations to all involved – I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and was impressed by the standard achieved in the performance space.

Good use was made of the space available although I felt  the cafeteria was a little cramped in the corner.  The décor of the flat seemed rather dated and non-descript – a carpet or rug would have ‘lifted’ the space.  The layout allowed for good movement and sound quality.  The art studio was well laid out with realistic furniture and props. 

Each area was discreetly lit making it easy to identify with the three locations.  Some lighting cues felt slow and the first scene change was very slow.  I would have expected the music to reflect the characters more and their age differences – Pretty Woman worked for the finale very well indeed.

The theme of the play – what happens to those of a ‘certain’ age – certainly seemed to be appreciated by the audience. The journey that Nancy went on through the course of the play, regaining her pride,  was believable.  For me, the sense of serenity of a life drawing class (referred to by Amy Rosenthal) was not achieved, possibly in favour of working the humour of the situation.

I would not advocate the use of prompt – teamwork is the most essential ingredient of any performance.  The casting was a strength of the play, everyone looked and felt right for their parts.

Sylvia Zilesnick handled the character of Nancy with great skill.  Her excellent facial expressions gave an insight into the inside turmoil of the character.  Christine Eckley gave a sense of who Nina was and how jaded and frustrated she was in her relationships with her sister and Max.  I felt more eye contact was needed – and this was emphasised in the ‘reveal scene’ which I thought was her strongest moment.  Roger Barker got the bumbling character of Max just right.  I believed in him as a person and in his genuine need to please and understand Nancy.

Mark Langham gave a very strong performance as Phillip.  There was no point that I didn’t believe in Phillip and his past life, carrying me along on his journey of self-discovery and growth.  Sophie Robertson captured Zelda’s youthfulness and highlighted the age gap between her and Phillip very well.  I felt that at times her delivery of bad language seemed a little false and was therefore made more obvious.  Her scene with Nancy worked well and evoked a certain sympathy. Jean Cooper gave a well observed performance as Josie – a difficult character with many aspects.  I empathised with her very much and could feel her rejection and hurt, fully understanding why she behaved the way she did.

Jean Grover conveyed Sylvia’s snobbishness well and the motherly pride of that alleged son of hers.  Marilyn Sovitch captured Bridget and her busybody character very well and Martin Howarth as Martin was an excellent foil to her overbearing personality.  They worked well together to produce a believable couple.  Marc Sardinha had the difficult job of playing a virtually non-speaking role.  His scene with Josie worked well and he supported others by allowing them to ‘bounce off’ him.

What is the purpose of putting on a play? – to entertain, possibly to challenge, to create an impact.  I was certainly entertained, with well observed interpretations of the playwright’s words.  The audience response and reaction throughout were very positive and paid credit to the hard work.