REVIEW: Too Soon For Daisies – Bembridge Little Theatre Club

Having enjoyed previous BLTC productions, I anticipated their latest offering with delight – and I wasn’t disappointed. The play itself, about three elderly ladies who have quite literally shipped out of their retirement home in the 1960’s, and landed on the Suffolk coast in search of a new home, sets up plenty of opportunities for comedy, all of which are exploited to the full by the talented cast and director Barry Aspinall.

From the moment three faces appear, peeping through the french windows of the perfectly-designed set, the humour starts. The central characters’ personalities are brought out from the start: Freda, the rather bossy leader, whose idea the jaunt was, could easily be seen as just a harridan but Lynne Gregory-Phillips brings out her softer, more vulnerable side and evokes our empathy.

Jane Robert excels as the ditsy, poetic Joy, living an ethereal existence, unable to cope with life’s realities at times – her flight of fantasy as she pretends to have been a gangster’s moll is hilarious! Completing the trio is Edie, delightfully portrayed by Dianne Aspinall, whose down to earth ‘old lag’ personality contrasts beautifully with her companions as she delivers some of the play’s funniest lines.

The comedy potential is heightened by the arrival of Paul Vanderbloom, played by John Molyneux, who announces he is the new owner of the house. A – very realistically played – heart condition results in a dead body to be explained away or got rid of, and the ladies choose the latter option, which is all very well until Vanderbloom’s niece Jackie turns up in search of her missing uncle, and handyman Joe (played with deadpan humour by Brian Wilson) announces that the well down which the body has been concealed needs to be opened….

Lisa Cregg, making her BLTC debut as Jackie, channels the 60’s London girl about town perfectly, and her growing suspicions are very well-played – as is her sleeping-pill-laced confusion, which convinces the local policeman (a lovely cameo by Robert Barnes) that she is delusional.

It is also great to see the talented Paul Gwinnett back onstage playing John Hunter, a kindly local doctor who provides a love interest for Freda and holds the key to the denouement – but to say more than that would spoil the story for anyone who has not yet seen the play, which is on Friday and Saturday evenings at Bembridge Church Hall – do see it if you can, for Too Soon For Daisies is a treat not to be missed!

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