Review: “Players Angels” by Swaffham Players

Sue Baxter as Glad and Rodger Bilverstone as Bill in "Players Angels"
Sue Baxter as Glad and Rodger Bilverstone as Bill in "Players Angels"

Amanda Whittington’s delicate drama about the lives of women working in the John Player Cigarette factory was Swaffham Players’ latest production at the Barn Theatre at the Sacred Heart Convent School.

The action takes place in the factory, a cinema and in the house of one of the characters, in the months leading up to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

The cast of five consisted of Sue Baxter as Glad, Nicky Dawkins as Vee, Charlotte Dawkins as Mae, Dawn Funnell as Cyn and Roger Bilverstone as factory supervisor, Bill.

Clever staging combined a constructed set, video projection and the use of the auditorium as a cinema to good effect.

The technical direction by John Hooker was faultless with 1950s period costumes and props adding greatly to the overall spectacle.

There were excellent performances from Nicky Dawkins as newly-married Vee and Charlotte Dawkins as the youngest and most recently arrived member of the group, Mae.

Rodger Bilverstone was on top form as the male romantic lead, Bill, and there were outstanding characterisations from Swaffham newcomer Dawn Funnell, as larger-than-life Cyn, and the ever-impressive Sue Baxter as Glad.

We watch as Glad struggles to reconcile the memory of her late husband and the secret romance she has with Bill.

This was the Swaffham Players at their best and, judging from the audience comments afterwards, it wasn’t just me that thought so.