Review: Caramba’s Revenge by The Lindrick Players

Lindrick Players will perform Caramba's Revenge. From left are Helene Sprowell as Rose,  Pat Shepherd as Doris, Helen Stevenson as Margo, Steve Edgar as Inspector Grubb, Sarah Edgar as Ronnie and Sarah Hemsall as Lottie.
Lindrick Players will perform Caramba's Revenge. From left are Helene Sprowell as Rose, Pat Shepherd as Doris, Helen Stevenson as Margo, Steve Edgar as Inspector Grubb, Sarah Edgar as Ronnie and Sarah Hemsall as Lottie.

The latest play presented by the Lindrick Players was ‘Caramba’s Revenge’, a black comedy by William Norfolk, Directed by Pat Thomas.

The entire play is conducted in a single setting – the front room of Violet’s house, which serves as the epicentre for a co-operative of ladies, in the ‘departure lounge’ of life.

The dressing of the set was masterfully done to create a slightly dilapidated dwelling, and small touches including an array of chintzy ornaments and a mismatch of embroidered and lacy textiles really set the scene.

The cast of geriatrics were portrayed spectacularly by some well recognised and seasoned members of the Lindrick players.

Living on the bread-line, the decrepitude of the ladies doesn’t stop them making the most of their senior years.

However, tragedy strikes when the owner of the shared house, Violet, is killed by a mugger.

The play then follows the misadventures of the ladies as they try to keep Violet’s death quiet so they can continue to live in her house, and of course carry on drawing her pension.

The unspoken leader of the co-operative, and aspiring author, Lottie, was played by Sarah Hemsall. It was difficult to believe that thespian Sarah is only just in her 30s, as she made a frighteningly convincing pensioner.

Sarah played the role of Lottie with an excess of bravura, especially when reciting extracts of Lottie’s developing novel ‘Baby Here’s Your Shroud’, which provided one of the central comedic themes throughout the play.

Lottie’s is joined by fellow cooperative members: Evening-class-addict Marge (Helen Stephenson), and drunk-and-disorderly Doris (Patricia Shepherd).

Together the trio created the comedy back-bone to this production, as they plan ‘justifiable homicide’ with as much staunchness as they dedicate to knitting patterns and the pursuit of Garibaldi biscuits.

The experience of the three actresses was evident as the on stage chemistry between the three primary characters was palpable.

Helen played Marge as bolshy and bold, yet with a subtle softness, which was very fitting for a character who would shoot anyone who came into her kitchen, but doesn’t really have the stomach for murder – unless it’s in pursuit of a microwave (‘the very zenith of ambition’).

Helen’s character was a stark contrast to Patricia’s free spirit Doris. Patricia’s interpretation of Doris added a hint of realism to the play, as even though she spends the majority of the play in a drunken stupor, it was evident that Doris felt trapped and scared by the military precision with which the cooperative was run.

The arrival of Violet’s Australian granddaughter Ronnie, played by Sarah Edgar, puts an unwelcome spanner in the co-operatives plans! Sarah’s Australian accent was extremely convincing, and she played the devious and flirtatious Ronnie superbly.

Plans start to unravel further, and dreams of Crème de Menthe Frappes start to come undone with the introduction of Police Detective Augustus Grubb (Steve Edgar), and a potential new member of the co-operative, Rose (Helene Sprowell).

As the only male cast member, Steve’s role was overshadowed by the exuberance of the pensioners, but this only helped to add to the comedy of the production.

Helene’s portrayal of the overbearing, shop-lifting, funeral-buff Rose was artfully done, and her blatant disregard for the other characters’ feelings created more laughs.

Rose is eventually joined by fellow shoplifter Grace, who was played by Director Pat Thomas. Pat’s meek character helps to wrap up the loose ends and provides the audience with a great sense of closure.

Caramba’s Revenge takes a heartwarming look at the stark realities of the twilight years of life, and adds a comedic twist where murder becomes a ‘cottage industry’. Another great performance by the Lindrick Players.

The next Performance by the Lindrick Players is the seasonal pantomime, Snow White, which will take place in January 2014.

By Sarah Bell