By Percy Eamus
The Oldbury REP Theatre was easier to get to than I thought, eleven minutes from the number 4 bus, on the 120 route and about ten minutes from the rail station. Set back from the high street close to two proper pubs and with an adequate car park. Inside, the booking staff impressed well by locating our seats from their observing our relating to some already there. The bar was adequate for its function in an occasional use venue.
The auditorium had well-raked seating; you would need the misfortune to be seated behind a near seven-footer to be obscured. The technical staff proved very good both sets were good and the whole operation smooth and professional. The play Private Lives by the master wordsmith Noël Coward has typically for him, a fast moving dialogue calling on feats of memory from the cast that would have been beyond my capacity even when in my prime, so the occasional dry was not unexpected. However, the prompt was that quick at responding that the performance faltered not at all, and the scripted business was carried out faultlessly by all cast members. Karen Walker, as Louise, was exemplary. It would be so easy in such a small role (compared to the heavy workload of the four principle characters) to underplay or to try to steal the limelight by overacting; she characterised in a convincing way.
An enjoyable, very affordable evening with good experiences for all of our group. We will be returning to take in the forthcoming production of the 39 steps, and we are looking forward to Charley’s Aunt (from Brazil where the nuts come from).