Servant to Two Masters - by Carlo Goldoni  
19th, 20th, 21st, June 2008

 

Cast           Production Team
Beatrice Emma Middleton   Director Andrew Rogers
Smeraldina Irene Jones   Production Assistant Val Parker
Clarice Sophie Robertson   Stage Manager Martin Howarth
Truffaldino Iain Howland   Assistant Stage Manager David Posen
Pantaloon Foster Barnett   Properties Jonica Brown
Dr Lombardi Roger Barker   Assistant Properties Lizzie Lynch
Silvio Andrew Rogers   Continuity  
Brighella John Haylett   Costume Christine Eckley
First Waiter Martin Howarth   Set Design & Construction Stephen Radley
Porter Paul Mansfield   Lighting Design Terry Tew
Waiters/Servants The Company   Sound Design Lisa Maule
      Sound/Lighting Operation Lisa Maule
      Programme Design Howard Platt
      Production Photos Garry Cooper
 

 

Review by Anne Horne

Front of house/programme
The display photos in the window were very interesting and an effective advertisement for the production.
As ever this is very well organised with the meet and greet being done by a very friendly and welcoming group of people.  I must also mention the smoothy running of the bar and the smart tee-shirts!
The programme was informative and well presented.  The information about the playwright and Commedia would have been very helpful to those unfamiliar with the style.

The space

The set was well constructed and I was immediately struck by the number of openings and doors you had managed to get into such a small space.  It led to much anticipation of things to come.
The colours were very Mediterranean and helped to create a sense of place.
You organised the interior space in possibly the best way.  However, when you had characters both inside and out the blocking was a little cramped and caused confusion for some of the audience.  Perhaps the actors in the courtyard could have moved further across and out of the way or even to the upper level.  Perhaps the inside space could have been deeper rather than wide.  For obvious reasons there was little to differentiate the interior space from the exterior should there have been?


Lighting/sound
Effective use of lighting to differentiate the interior and exterior spaces and glad to see the actors worked within them.
However, at then of the play when all was revealed the space was rather inadequate and caused the performers to be in a flat line and a bit 'tucked up'
The use of the strobe was well done and added very well to the comic effect.
The music gave a sense of time and location and was very useful in setting the scene.  However, there were many things which contradicted the sense of time and place throughout the performance predominately the accents.
 

Costume and propsCertainly gave an impression of time and period and went some way to defining the stock characters one would expect in Commedia.
Would guess it also helped the actors with their characterisation.
Didn't like the hampers because it is difficult to give them the right weight they were too easy to move about.  However, I also know how difficult it is to get hold of two identical trunks!

Direction
The farcical nature of the text was very much the driving force here, with less emphasis on any underlying message of the text.  I had no problem with that, as a farce done well provides entertainment and that is why the audience was there.
The opening sequence was very well chreographed and a gentle way of introducing the characters and bring them into the space.  This set the tone and pace for the start of the play very well indeed and created a sense of expectation leading in to the sharing of vows very well.
When casting from a limited supply of actors there will always be incongruence in age, looks etc.  It was always difficult for me to believe in the romance/love between Truffaldino and Smeraldina and also between Florindo and Beatrice whilst the actors did a very good job I simply could not believe in their affections

Individual performances


Pantaloon (Foster Barnett) looked the part.  Your bearing and demeanour on stage was very convincing and I had no difficulty beleiving in your character or relationship to others.  There were occasions when exitable when we lost what you were saying and there were some prompts.  However, your sense of timing and the asides were very good and who could forget your face when Beatrice reveals all!

Clarice (Sophie Robertson) convincing in the role the affected voice did grate after a while but then I think that was the whole point.  It certainly encapsulated her childishness and the spoilt ways of the middle classes something Goldoni would have wanted to emphasise.  You maintained your sense of Clarice throughout.

Dr Lombardi (Roger Barker) made for the part a convincing merchant and a man of means.  your stage presence was one of authority and you worked the space easily and naturally, maintaining good relationships with everyone on stage.  Good comic timing.

Silvio/First Waiter (Howard Platt) Congratulations on two very convincing roles.  They were so different and maintained perfectly throughout.  Perhaps the use of the lisp and the affected voice for Silvio helped you and increased the sense of fun that was being poked at the middle class.  Your timing was good and especially likes the way you worked your relationship with Truffaldino when you were the waiter.

Brighella (John Haylett) the northern accent was an interesting addition, but did slip once or twice.  A solid performance as the innkeeper.

Smeraldina (Irene Jones) I loved her sassy nature you captured that perfectly and your comic timing was very good.  You maintained your character throughout and convinced me that you would be after Truffaldino, in fact anything single, and in trousers!

Truffaldino (Iain Howland) an outstanding performance throughout.  I enjoyed your energy and a real sense of the character a real cheeky chappy. I could not believe that he would fall for Smeraldina you played him with such confidence that I felt he would not settle for someone of his own class.

Beatrice (Emma Middleton) I felt you were very nervous during the first two acts and stumbled over both lines and relationships with other characters.  You were better in the last act when you had more of a sense of who you were.  I liked your relationship with Truffaldino, you worked well with him.  I also enjoyed the suicide scene.

Florindo (Andrew Rogers) as just mentioned the suicide scene worked well timing was excellent and you captured the farce so well.  A clear sense of who you were.

Porter (Paul Mansfield) I loved your voice and stage presence which both added to the comedy.  Well done.

Second Waiter and Pot Boy (Laura Wheadon and Dave Posen) there are no small parts, only small actors and the pair of you certainly weren't small.  Your work helped the smooth running of the play, especially between scenes and you must be commended for that.