As the curtains opened, Miq Kelland's wonderful set design took us into the music room at the home. Musical instruments, portraits of composers and music-themed paraphernalia complemented the tasteful décor, and Betsy Rimmer's excellent artwork led the eye to the patio and the grounds beyond. The four characters in the play are very diverse and we were lucky to have four extremely talented actors playing them. Julia Yule perfectly captured the childlike and optimistic qualities of Cissie, portraying her character's early stages of dementia with verve and sensitivity. John Pounder as Reggie was the essence of an orderly and refined man but with an alarming volatility that surfaced whenever he didn't get his breakfast marmalade. Wilf is apparently sex mad with a penchant for lewd comments, but we later discover his behaviour masks the grief he feels at the loss of his wife. Mike Nicholson gave an outstanding performance of both sides of this complex character. Pam Luxton was on top form as 'grand dame' Jean Horton, bemoaning her fate of having to live amongst chorus members and musicians, and delivering perfectly-timed insults and put-downs. There was also a vulnerable side to Jean, which Pam expertly portrayed.

This is a tragi-comedy that Jennifer and Geofrey Steward directed with great skill and sensitivity. The backstage crew did a fantastic job moving furniture and props, particularly in the final scene when the music room is transformed into a makeshift dressing room. The makeup and costumes suited the characters down to a tee, and with the Rigoletto overture playing between scenes, the sound and lighting perfectly complemented the whole production. Prompts, though rarely needed, were timely and unobtrusive, and the front of house team did their usual sterling work of keeping us refreshed and organised, making the whole evening a happy experience.

And so to the finale in which the four characters mime to 'Bella figlia dell'amore' - in Italian! Many congratulations to the directors for not taking the easy way out by having the characters retreat behind the curtain once the music begins. They stood front of tabs and gave it their all. Full credit to the actors for giving such a spirited performance and to musical director Jill Scott-Kerr for bringing them to that level. As in the play, it was a triumph. This was one of the best productions I've seen at West Chiltington. Well done to everyone involved and thank you for a brilliant evening.   from Jean Trew


Chairman's Challenge

The 2017 Chairman's Challenge was won by Jean Trew with Partners. The 2018 Chairman's Challenge is now open. An original one act play written by a member of the Society in the last two years, given to the WCDS Chairman by 31 March 2018, is all that is required.

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Working on a set

3 people at a table

Hush, directors at work





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