REVIEW: RolePlay, Highbury Players, St Philip’s Hall, Cosham

Highbury Players's  Jemma Waller, John Morris and Amy Gould
 in a scene from Alan Ayckbourn's RolePlay. 
Picture: Colin Phipps

Highbury Players's Jemma Waller, John Morris and Amy Gould in a scene from Alan Ayckbourn's RolePlay. Picture: Colin Phipps

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I have to confess that I’m an Alan Ayckbourn fan, so jumped at the chance to see RolePlay performed by Highbury Players.

Ayckbourn plays can be challenging, for both cast and audience, and this one was no exception.

Hilarious in parts, it also had some very sharply-observed swipes at middle-class life.

Set in a Docklands apartment, the play has Ackybourn’s usual collection of mismatched characters – Justin and Julie-Anne, (sterling performances from John Morris and Jemma Waller) are waiting for their guests to arrive for a dinner party to announce their engagement.

This is gatecrashed by Paige, a lapdancer escaping her violent boyfriend and her minder ex-boxer Micky. Both Amy Gould (Paige) and Chris Wrein (Micky) played their parts perfectly, showing their dilemma – how to avoid being killed – with both humour and courage.

In contrast, you have Derek and Dee Jobson (Julie-Anne’s parents) who for all their solid Yorkshire values, display some astonishing hypocrisy. Played by Cliff Mullins and Pam Phipps, this unpleasant couple were really brought to life.

Finally, Justin’s mother Arabella arrives – drunk as usual – and adds an hilarious edge to the play. Toni Tovery played the part with her usual comedic flair and excellent timing.

Well done Highbury Players – an excellent play very well performed.

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