Pat Hamilton reviews The Memory of Water

Entertaining Angels
by Richard Everett
performed by Waterbeach Community Players
directed by Jane Stewart

Having been treated to the friendly and genuine welcome by the FOH team, entering the hall to see the curtains open revealing a spectacular set boded well for what was to follow.

Entertaining Angels is a play about faith, loss, family secrets and forgiveness played out against the apparent calm of an English country garden.

Grace (Alex Priestley) is recalling her life of duty as the wife of the recently deceased vicar, realising she is not only bereft of her husband but also her home and her job, whilst the new incumbent and her husband examine their new home.

Grace finds some solace in talking to deceased husband Bardolph (Chris Shinn) but feels she is wandering aimlessly. Reminded by him that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years she retaliates with that was due to them being led by men and wouldn't stop to ask the way.

Her eccentric missionary sister Ruth (Christine Easterfield) has returned from Africa to give support but their constant bickering only aggravates and eventually leads to disturbing revelations that she has a 30 year old son by Grace’s husband. This is a terrible shock but even worse was that "Bardy" never told her.

The new vicar Sarah, (Suzanne Emerson) reveals her own problems to Jo but counsels that sometimes it is better to remain silent.

Grace's daughter Jo (atherine Maltby) is also experiencing marital problems but in spite of this offered a calm and convincing intermediary between the sibling madness of her mother and aunt.

Strong roles for ladies are few and far between and this play gave us four. Alex, Christine, Suzanne and Katherine all rose to the occasion supremely.

They were excellently supported by Chris as the deceased and erstwhile incumbent.

Many congratulations to Jane Stewart in only her second Directorial role. She guided her cast beautifully - she had obviously identified with the complexity of the characters and faultlessly steered them to success.

Praise too for all those behind the scenes - first class support from every department.

This was a performance of all round excellence - a quintet of excellent characterisations and faultless technical support.

The final applause from the appreciative audience echoed these sentiments.

Waterbeach Theatre Company
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Waterbeach School
Cambridge CB25 9JU

Phone: 01223 880023

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