Review of Young Nomad’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Round and Round the Garden’ in the King’s Theatre Newmarket on Thursday 24th February 2011

The future of drama in Newmarket is assured. Young Nomads, under the directorship of Wallace Wareham, entertained a packed audience in the King’s Theatre Newmarket with a wonderful production of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Round and Round the Garden’. These young thespians certainly knew their stuff and brought the characters to life as well as any experienced company.

Norman (played by Tom Stanford) was a deliciously seductive womanizer, Tom (Joshua Jenkins) a relatively insensitive and preoccupied vet, Sarah (Rebecca Littlechild) a woman very much in charge, Annie (Jenny Offley) an impressionable stay-at-home girl, Reg (Joshua Matthews) the irritating husband of Sarah and Norman’s wife, Ruth (Rosmy Cesaro) was expectantly confused and long suffering.

In a typically hilarious way, events contrived to send these couples in a whirl of frustrating developments in their relationships. Norman and Annie’s planned weekend away never quite got off the ground. Norman’s insatiable desire for the female form certainly ruffled Sarah’s otherwise immaculate countenance and Tom seemed to take forever to express his desire for Annie. The off-stage cat up the tree had a major role in distracting the reticent vet.  Also off-stage was the mother who needed constant care and who brought this large family together.

In typically Ayckbourn fashion, these fine actors and actresses poked fun at society’s attitudes and couples’ irritations of the day: Reg and Tom, two bores chatting about the mundane issues of cars were completely unaware of Norman and Annie’s explicit antics a few feet away. The fact that a couple could not find a piece of fuse wire easily became a major issue and Ruth’s vanity and her refusal to wear glasses — these all helped create mayhem. The audience was in stitches.

Aside from the lengthy speeches that were not only impeccably recalled but were delivered with captivating clarity and the cannily designed stage movements, as with all good productions, staging, costumes, lighting, music, programmes even elegant ushers in black suit and tie – all supporting activities were conspicuously first-rate.

This was indeed a splendid evening.

The next Nomads production to look forward to will be a thriller: ‘Ladies in Retirement’ Monday 28th March to Saturday 2nd April. Box office: 01638 663337 http://www.nomadskingstheatre.com

Rosemary Westwell

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