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Dudley thespians bring poignant drama to life
DUDLEY Little Theatre thespians brought poignant drama to Netherton Arts Centre once more when they staged Tennessee Williams' classic The Glass Menagerie.
Society stalwart Frank Martino transferred the subtlety and believability he has shown on stage as an actor to the role of director to bring to life a credible and moving production about an American family living in 1930s St Louis as they try to escape the constraints of their dreary lives.
Rebecca Clee held the play together as demanding yet loving single mother Amanda Wingfield who pins her hopes on finding a husband for her crippled and painfully shy daughter Laura.
Her stage presence was strong and she brought to life wonderfully the essence of the character of the social darling turned abandoned wife - although her deep southern accent wavered a little.
David Hutchins also played a key role in holding the piece together as the narrator Tom Wingfield who recalls events leading up to his departure from St Louis.
Never one to disappoint - Hutchins put in a star turn as warehouse worker Tom who aspires to be a poet and to experience adventure that is a far cry from his imprisoning life supporting his dependent mother and sister.
His performance was, as ever, captivatingly believable, including his American accent - and his timing and delivery of some the play's humorous moments was spot on.
Gina Lovell was equally enchanting as Tom's excruciatingly withdrawn sister Laura who walks with a leg brace and who, unable to face the world outside, spends most of her time polishing her collection of glass animals.
Her soft southern accent was impeccable and her realistic depiction of the character's fragility was a delight to watch.
While in a contrast to previous comedy roles - James Silvers evoked real poignancy as Tom's friend Jim O'Connor, the gentleman caller whom Amanda Wingfield has set her sights on as a match for Laura.
Barely attempting what can be a tricky accent to perfect, he instead seemed to concentrate more on creating some really heartfelt moments in the scenes in which his upbeat character attempts to instil a little self-confidence in lonely Laura.
A suitably realistic and functional set, sound effects and lovely live piano music arranged and performed by Teresa Lucas also added to the atmosphere of this charming production.