Leading the way into temptationtheft

THE Falcon Players opened their year 2000 season win an interesting five hander, Theft, at Stanford Hall Theatre this week.

The programme noted the company has been performing winter plays for over 30 years in spite of a variety of weather, including deep snow and floods, a tribute to the dedication, professionalism and sense of loyalty to its patrons.

Dedication and professionalism were much in evidence the Theft the night I saw the play. The plot revolves around a burglar caught in a wintry house as he either provokes or exploits the weaknesses of the two couples sharing the weekend together.

Each of the other characters has to reassess the direction their life is heading and their relationships with others. The play calls into question our idead on right and wrong - if tempted wouldn't we all unlock the safe with the fortune inside it?

There was much to enjoy in this production with a cast list as short as five everyone has to work hard to support the others.

Steve Shipton and Karen Hume had the quieter roles of the Farringtons, invited to the house partly on the basis of memories, partly to exaggerate the superiority of their 'friends'.

Both actors developed their characters as the truth dawned, Steve more aggressive, less timid, Karen more open to the possibility of theft to acquire status.

Chris Marlow also gave a good performance as the 'rags to riches' husband, not averse to a bit of cheating to prove his superiority, ready to shoot the thief before considering his own corporate theft in business.

I particularly enjoyed Janet Holmes's portrayal of Barbara, the rich mans wife. Rather drunk, unsteady, sharp-tongued but aware of the ravages of time, Barbara lifted the pace of the play whenever she was on stage. She had many of the best lines and used them well; most effectively she used the audience as her 'mirror,' searching for signs of decay in her face whenever age was mentioned.

Stuart Bailey, the burglar Spriggs, also revelled in his part. His sense of timing and use of the effective one-liner enabled the audience to warm to this overgarrulous housebreaker who would change his mood and manipulative skills to suit the other characters in order to carve out an escape route for himself.

The Players next show is from May 10-13. Plenty of time to switch off the box in the corner, to organise a trip to an absolute gem of a theatre (free bus available on Thursday nights) to enjoy comedy at its best. What are you waiting for?

Roy Jones
Loughborough Echo 

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