Players tackle a big challenge

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NOT many amateur theatre companies feel equipped to take on the work of the stature and complexity of David Hare’s, but Chesterfield Playgoers enjoy a challenge, the bigger the better.

Amy’s View, Hare’s study of the conflict between traditional theatre and more modern media artistry seen through a lens of fluctuating family relationships, is a play very much of its time – though perhaps the early 1990s financial catastrophe which precipitated the Lloyds of London crash has some resonance with the current economic situation.

Hare takes a rather cynical view of the title character’s firm belief that love given unconditionally will ultimately be rewarded, and no one gets off scot-free. A play about theatre risks becoming claustrophobic and navel-gazing, but the production focused on the characters rather than the ideas.

The Playgoers’ cast is a mix of regulars and new faces. Joanne Gordon plays the eponymous Amy, Susan Turner her flamboyant actress mother. Both performances are pitched at a high emotional level which sometimes gives the players little scope to vary the tone, and some of Hare’s subtleties are lost as a result.

Tony Keaton, Simon Gordon and Toby Cole as the men in their lives fare a little better, and veteran player Jean Dennick draws the eye even inert in a wheelchair.

Amy’s View is at the Pomegranate until Saturday, May 5.

LYNNE PATRICK