‘Dangerous Corner’ by J B Priestley, directed by David Haydon, was the Somborne Players’ latest triumph!
The play starts with four elegantly attired women in the drawing room of the Caplan’s house in 1932. They are discussing a radio play they have been listening to, called "The Sleeping Dog". The men join the ladies one of whom, Olwen Peel (Vanessa Sharpe), believes that the dog in the title represents truth and a discussion follows about whether it is better or not to let it lie: whether some things are better left unsaid – or not. One of the people present makes a casual comment as a musical cigarette box is opened which leads to the twists and turns of the plot.
Robert Caplan’s (Andrew Flanagan) brother is believed to have stolen £500 from the firm and then to have shot himself as a result and the more we learn about his brother the more unlikely does this course of action seem. However, Robert will not leave the subject alone with the result that revelations of infidelity, adultery, homosexuality and drugs – not to mention suicide (illegal in those days) or was it murder? – follow.
At the start of the play before she leaves the assembled group the very upright Miss Mockridge (Frances Dixon) comments that they are a very cosy little group, little knowing what was to be revealed once she had left! Her illusions about this seemingly very ordinary group of people remained intact. For her, Olwen’s dog sleeps, for the others it is very wide awake. Life hinges on ‘What if …?’ and at the end of the play we go back to the beginning and the sound of the gunshot. One tiny incident is different which sets off an entirely different train of events, leading to the conclusion that ‘telling the truth is about as healthy as skidding round a corner at sixty’ – the ‘Dangerous Corner’.
The story held us tightly until the end, and it was executed by a very strong cast: Sue Jackson, Frances Dixon, Harry Gandy, Vanessa Sharpe, Chris Hall, Alan Glynne-Jones and Andrew Flanagan, not to mention the BBC voice of Anthony Chilton. The crew are too many to mention, but their professionalism and teamwork enhanced the performance, ensuring the enjoyment of the audience.
The next performance of the Somborne Players to look out for and enjoy is the panto: ‘Dick Whittington and his Cat’ on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st February – the date is certainly in my diary, and I urge everyone to do likewise!
Review written for the Gauntlet by Margaret Burgess