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Waiting in the Wings by Noel Coward
reviewed by Sue Lupton in
Isle of Wight County Press 15/12/06
(reproduced by kind permission of the
Isle of Wight County Press)
HOW do a group of elderly actresses while away their time in retirement? Apparently they knit; do tapestry, play patience, gossip and bicker.
This is not exactly a rich source of gripping drama or laugh-a-minute comedy. However, it didn't stop Noel Coward writing Waiting In TheWings, a long, wordy play about the goings-on in The Wings, a charity home for actresses who have fallen on hard times.
The 1960 play has been revived by Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (CAODS), with the run ending tomorrow (Saturday).
Under the direction of Jane Maclean, the cast of 18 made a valiant effort to inject some sparkle into the lacklustre script.
One of the stars of the show was Julia Caws, who played the glamorous Lotta with panache. Lotta is a new arrival at The Wings. For 3D-odd years, she has had a feud with May (Judith Westbrook), a long-term resident. We expect sparks to fly when the two are forced by their impoverished circumstances to come face-to-face in The Wings.
Meanwhile, the other main source of suspense is the question of whether the trustees who run the home will agree to build the solarium that the residents long for. As part of this campaign, Perry, the secretary (Martin Woolven), smuggles in a journalist (Carolyn Ferguson), to the consternation of the old dears. The bossy superintendent of the home, Miss Archibald (Dinah Bowman), had some good comic lines and strode about convincingly as a jolly-hockey-sticks, military type with a heart of gold.
Some of the biggest laughs came from Deirdre (Carole French), an outrageous Irishwoman, and the delightfully senile Sarita (Joan Savill).
The flamboyant Maud was played by Linda Gammon, who added a musical touch by bursting into song from time to time. Unfortunately, her reliance on the prompt detracted from an otherwise enjoyable performance.
Maggi Pearman Taylor, JanePhillips, Teresa Woolven, Almina Clare, Nora Crouch and Sue Smith were good as the other residents and supporting roles were well played by Fred Caws, Nicky Stanley, Ulus Bahcecioglo and Wayne Child.