London: Parish Players perform Separate Tables

Separate Tables

Separate Tables

Holy Apostles Parish Players are performing Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan tonight at Holy Apostles Parish Hall in Cumberland Street, Pimlico, at 7.30pm. A period piece set in the mid 1950s, it concerns the lives of the permanent residents of a certain small hotel in Bournemouth . The hotel setting plays host to the intrigues in the residents lives whilst laying bare their deeper personal journeys over eighteen months.

The curtains opened to an audible gasp of appreciation from the audience, the set being beautifully and authentically created with much attention to detail. The talented cast convincingly embraced the '50s formality of etiquette to great comic effect whist hinting at a poignancy  which developed subtly throughout the course of the play.

The play has been beautifully directed by Eileen Sheedy.  Lady Matheson, played by June Lusted and Mrs Railton-Bell by Kate Peacock sparred wittily against one another  while revealing the fragile subtext at the heart of the play. The biggest laugh of the night came from a scene involving the formidable Mrs Railton-Bell haranguing her forlorn daughter, played sympathetically by Patricia Doyle, who sheepishly admits to being thirty three years old . Doreen, played by Claudia Penas, with wonderful comic timing, brightened up the stage, mischieviously playing the maid who hears and sees all. Major Pollock, played by Colin Lavender, cut a moving character as a man deceiving only himself, yet facing up to reality and finding "home" in the closing scene.

The Parish Players was started up in 1987.  Their first performance was an Easter play written by the group called 'He Was One of Us.' It was well received, and since that time the company has grown, and staged about 55 productions.

"We try to be varied, said director Eileen Sheedy.  "We've done comedy, serious drama, plays for children and variety evenings."  Past shows have included The Chalk Garden, The Importance of Being Earnest, ` a Passion Play and Massabielle - for the 150th anniversary of Lourdes.

"We always have a Mass  before the production and a Thanksgiving Mass afterwards," Eileen said.  Rehearsals always begin with a prayer. "We're not the National Theatre - but we endeavour to reach a good standard as a community theatre. Our productions involve people from the parish, and further afield - of all faiths and none. It is  something very enjoyable to be part of."

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