The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
February 28 – March 1, 2 & 3, 2007
by Alan Ayckbourn
Derek Fraser – Julian
Natalie Colgate – Phoebe
H. Reeves – Reece
Claire Wiggins – Ruella
Guy Steddon – Harold
Anna Quick – Jessica
Lighting – Mike Medway
Stage Manager – David Comber
Stage Manager – Philip Oliver
Stage Manager – Richard Bulling
Technical Stage Manager – Helen Brewster
ASM – Sheila Holgate-Wright
Sound Technician – Jonathon Weldon
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Properties – Margaret Davy
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – David Collis
Workshop Team – Tony Holmes
Workshop Team – Robert Mitchell
Workshop Team – Richard Bulling
Workshop Team – Philip Oliver
Workshop Team – Mark Flower
Painters – Margaret Davy
Painters – Sue Chaplin
Painters – Sheila Neesham
Painters – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Anna Barden
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Programme Note #1: Communicating Doors
JG wrote: “When I was asked to direct for the 2007 season, I thought I’d like to try my hand at comedy. My previous productions have had sombre themes [strained relationships, troubled minds etc] and I wanted something much lighter this time.
Having thoroughly enjoyed Wick’s Bedroom Farce last year, I looked at many more of Ayckbourn’s plays. When I read Communicating Doors I was instantly drawn to the idea of being able to change history. It is an enjoyable comedy too – though I must admit there are also some of my familiar themes along the way, including relationships and menace.
So, the perfect choice for me – a black comedy! I hope you enjoy it too.”
Publicity #1: Communicating Doors
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: February 15 2007 issue – page 31
Text Header: Wick take time out for intrigue
Publicity #2: Communicating Doors
Publication: The Courier
Publication Data: February 2007 issue – page 7
Text Header: Souls get bared and a lot besides
POPPING into the next room takes on a whole new meaning in Wick Theatre Company’s first production of 2007.
Alan Ayckbourn’s play, Communicating Doors, is a comedy, thriller and mystery all in one, with the action spinning backwards and forwards in time as characters pass through the magic doors of the title.
The play opens at the Regal Hotel in 2014, when owner Reece Wells – wealthy and dishonest – is close to death. He has written a confession of his dodgy dealings, which include the murder of two wives. To witness this incriminating document, he has called for the services of Poopay, a street girl. But Poopay, escaping the clutches of Julian, Reece’s villainous business partner, exits through the magic doors and finds herself back in 1994. She’s in the identical hotel suite, but it is now occupied by Ruella, Reece’s second wife, on the very night of her supposed murder.
When Ruella, hoping to avert her grisly fate, goes through the same doors, she runs straight into Reece and first wife Jessica on their wedding night, back in the year 1974. Can Poopay [or Phoebe, her real name] and the two wives stop the future crimes happening? Their extraordinary time-travelling adventures, which also involve Harold the hotel house detective, range from nail-biting to rib-tickling – all in the space of two gripping acts.
Director John Garland has chosen a highly experienced cast to dash through the decades in style. Some are new to the company, but already well-known on the Barn stage. Reece Wells is played by ‘H’ Reeves and his villainous partner, Julian, by Derek Fraser. Anna Quick and Claire Wiggins are Reece’s two wives, Jessica and Ruella, Natalie Colgate plays Phoebe, or Poopay, and Guy Steddon is house detective Harold.
Performances run from Wednesday, February 28, to Saturday, March 3, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick. Ticket cost £7.50 for Wednesday and Thursday, and £8 for Friday and Saturday, from the box office on 01273 597094. Performances start at 7.45pm
Review #1: Communicating Doors
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sam Woodman
Text Header: Unknown
Time travel, murder and a man on his death bed wanting to right his wrongs were all touched upon in Wick Theatre Company’s first production of 2007. Communicating Doors, Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy-mystery-thriller was performed to excellent audiences at Southwick’s barn Theatre last week. Directed by John Garland, the play opened in 2014 in a suite at the Regal Hotel, were a wealthy and dishonest Reece Wells [‘H’ Reeves] was planning to confess his dodgy dealings of the past. He had called on the services of Poopay, a ‘rent-a-dominatrix’ played by Natalie Colgate, to deliver his written confession to his solicitor without the knowledge of Julian his villainous – and murderous business partner, played by Derek Fraser. But find out Julian did, and so ensued a chase through time as Poopay – real name Phoebe – found herself journeying into the past after escaping through the plays titular doors and fighting to save the lives of Wells’ ex-wives Ruella and Jessica, played by Claire Wiggins and Anna Quick respectively. The cast members played their rôles convincingly, with hotel security chief Harold [Guy Steddon] raising more than a chuckle or two.
Natalie Colgate stole the show as Phoebe/Poopay, while Derek Fraser was a believable villain, particularly in a tense scene in the hotel’s bedroom [despite some set-wobble proving a slight distraction] While mostly well-polished, the production, lost its place on occasions, with seemingly dramatic scenes turning into pantomime-style slapstick a little too quickly for this reviewer’s tastes. That said, the vast majority of audience members went home clutching their aching sides, and the play’s dramatic and memorable final twist was played out perfectly by Colgate and Reeves, after the three women had righted Reece Well’s dastardly dealings before they happened – or was that after?
Review #2: Communicating Doors
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
Text Header: Classic comedy script is in a zone of its own
TIME travel being very much in vogue at the moment with such TV successes as Dr. Who and Life on Mars makes the idea a suitable subject for entertainment. Therefore it was a ‘timely’ move by The Wick Theatre Company to stage Alan Ayckbourn’s extremely funny comedy thriller that revolved around the idea of people moving through time zones. The action taking place in the same room and moving between three time periods 2014, 1994 and 1974.
Only the inventive mind of Ayckbourn could come up with a plot that has a leather-clad dominatrix, albeit a wimpish one, as its heroine, Phoebe. A part that enabled Natalie Colgate to demonstrate her considerable talent for droll comedy as the hapless character tossed back and forth in time. Chased by a villain, who has murdered Ruella and Jessica, the two wives of his business partner, Phoebe tries to rewrite history and save the women. As the murderous Julian, Derek Fraser’s performance was a mixture of suaveness and quiet menace.
There were strong and contrasting performances from Claire Wiggins and Anna Quick as the wives – Ruella, mature, down to earth and in control and Jessica, young, dithery and a bit dim. Whilst the husband, Reece, was in the capable hands of H Reeves playing him firstly as an old man of 70-plus and then as a twenty-something. The plot is full of mayhem and confusion, much of it involving a hotel security guard played with a great sense of comedy timing by Guy Seddon [sic]. At times the bluster, self importance and near hysteria of his portrayal suggested that Air Warden Hodges had crossed over from Dad’s Army!
Ayckbourn’s writing provides a complex plot that not only is full of funny lines but also provides some classic comedy action. One scene involving the rescue of one of the wives, who is hanging out of a window, had the audience howling with laughter. The excellence of the performances and John Garland’s direction was matched by the technical team who had constructed a complex set and depicted the time travelling by skilful light changes. When I reviewed Bedroom Farce I said that it was a consummate production. There must be something about Ayckbourn that brings the best in the company as this latest offerings justifies similar praise.