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'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
By Jamie White - Friday, Sepember 23, 2011
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)
I must have been one of the few people who had never read the book or seen on television The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and ¾.
At least it meant I didn’t go into Cowes Trinity Theatre with a pre-conceived idea of what it could be like, or expectations that were too high.
Despite the low number of people attending (barely a quarter of the seats were filled), for the first night performance, the cast of Cowes Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society put on a solid show. The story, written by Sue Townsend, follows the life of teenager Adrian Mole (Jacob Burland) and the daily dramas he has to face, including girls, spots and the constant squabbling by his parents Pauline Mole (Abbie Lemon) and George Mole (Wayne Child).
Jacob was commanding in his role as Adrian and extracts from his diary which were read out kept the audience well informed, with cameo roles from his dog (which was real). There was also good banter with his friend, Nigel, played by Robbie Gwinnett.
The play, split over two levels, was complemented well by the range of retro props and 80s-style clothes.
When we met the very vocal school bully, Ronnie Kent (Zoe Divers), there was good use of disco lighting and 80s’ music.
There was also good support from Bob French, as the grumpy pensioner Bert Baxter, who provided moments of hilarity with Queenie (Daphne Brown).
A lusty relationship starts to form between Pauline and smarmy neighbour Mr Lucas (Stuart Adams), reluctantly accepted by his wife, Mrs Baxter (Fiona Gwinnett). It leaves George devastated and finding solace with Doreen Slater (Tracy Howard), but is left to Joan Savill, as the battleaxe Mole grandma, to keep order.
But among all the drama, Adrian falls for Pandora, played by Carol Simpson and a relationship blossoms and Adrian’s life starts to brighten.
There were a few lines forgotten but overall it was a confident performance by the cast, who deserved to have more people watching.