11/9/2014 7:51 PM
Ferndown Drama Group
FOR lovers of Crime Drama, the performance of Norman Robbins’ play, ‘Practice to Deceive,’ at the Barrington Theatre in Ferndown this week is a real treat. In the tradition of thriller style plays, this one does not disappoint.
The story takes place in a cottage on the edge of the moor, near the remote North Yorkshire Village of Chellingford. The discovery of several dead bodies on the Moor brings a deluge of police and media to the small town. Life is just getting back to normal, when Adrian Brookes shows up unannounced to visit a woman he’s never met.
From there, scams, lies and mystery come together to form a tapestry of intrigue all leading through several twists and turns to the thrilling climax.
There are certainly some very strong performances in this production, most notably to me, the shotgun-toting portrayal of Mildred McBride by Jenny Sibley. Her grasp of this character is quite obvious and her hard-nosed attitude toward protecting her farm and everything in it makes her quite endearing.
I very much appreciate the performance of the slightly creepy farm hand Gavin Purdie, played by Kevin Dicker. He does a great job of giving you someone to suspect very early in the show and carries it on right through to the big twists in the second half.
There are also some very strong performances from Dawn Hollington (Jessica Scanlon) and Ryan Gregg (Adrian Brookes), though both of these characters really shine through in the second act.
The set is a comfortable front room in a small country cottage, though the distinct lack of watercolour animal paintings in the living area of a watercolour artist didn’t go unnoticed.
The use of sound effects like thunder and rain throughout are very effective and accompanied by lots of water on the actor’s costumes there was a convincing storm outside the little cottage.
Director Paul Marcus certainly has a play that he can be proud of in ‘Practice to Deceive’ and if you have the time, head on out to Ferndown for an electrifying evening of drama and intrigue.