Review: Hasland Theatre Company stages Entertaining Angels

Val Davies,  Rachel Schofield, Kathryn  Hardy,  Tracy Tiney  and  Mick McGwyre in a production of Entertaining Angels by Hasland Theatre Company.
Val Davies, Rachel Schofield, Kathryn Hardy, Tracy Tiney and Mick McGwyre in a production of Entertaining Angels by Hasland Theatre Company.

Character-forming comedies require a great deal of commitment not only in shaping the people in the story and making them believable but also in remembering lines.

Character-forming comedies require a great deal of commitment not only in shaping the people in the the play and making them believable but also in remembering lines.

Entertaining Angels, the current production by Hasland Theatre Company, is a prime example of an amateur group’s labour of love.

Val Davies has an enormous amount of lines to recall in the role of leading lady but carries them off without a hitch. She plays Grace, the widow of a vicar, who is outspoken in her views on religion and her visiting sister, which spark much amusement.

The sisters couldn’t be more different…Grace looks quintessentially English in a flowery skirt, while Ruth (played by Rachel Schofield), a missionary newly arrived from Africa, stomps around stage in shorts and sandals.

Add to the mix, the deceased vicar Bardolph (played by Mick McGwyre) who Grace spends her time talking to, much to the despair of her loved ones; the couple‘s daughter Jo (played by Kathryn Hardy) and the new vicar Sarah (Tracey Tiney, making an impressive debut with the company),

Most of the characters are going through a crisis of faith and have dark secrets which come tumbling out as the play progresses, leading to well-performed scenes of emotion.

It’s all played out on a spectacular set which depicts a typical English garden complete with lean-to greenhouse, patio doors opening onto the lawn, a tree trunk, flower-covered arch and blooms everywhere you look. A stream at the bottom of the garden is indicated by dappled lighting at the start of Act Two.

This thought-provoking production, directed by Sue Godsell and Barbara Downey, continues its run at Hasland Playhouse from tomorrow (Monday, March 23) until Saturday, March 28, at 7.30pm.