‘We’re all nice easy going people…’ states Charles Stanton – ironically as the Dangerous Corner plot unwinds we find the group in question are in fact manipulative, jealous and entirely quite detestable people. The idea of ‘truth’ comes out as each character’s infidelity, violence and web of lies unravels in an intriguing, darkly comic drama.
J B Priestley’s script sparkled with crisp dialogue as the plot twisted and turned leaving the audience engaged. However, here came my first issue with the show: the lexis and actions of the characters were truly routed in the 1930s where it was set, meaning that the updating the piece to a 1980s context seemed a little needless and unjustified, despite the fabulous vibrant costumes.
It’s rare that I’ve seen a guild show with such acting talent – normally when I write a review I mention a couple of stand out performances, however, with Dangerous Corner I felt the talent was incredibly strong across the entire cast of seven. Grace Hussey-Burd for me stole the show in her intricate and haunted performance of Olwen, whilst Chavonne Brown’s charisma and excellent sense of comic timing brought a much-needed element of lightness to the show. Alice Williams’ ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt’ interpretation of the selfish Betty was brilliant, as was Katie Paterson’s stunningly icy and sexy portrayal of Freda. Despite just being in one scene, Nia Tilley was charming and held total command of the stage as the older Maud and Dominic Ryder’s subtle performance captured a frustrated soul, hinting at unrequited love and repressed homosexuality. Brad Carpenter shone too, particularly in his final moments as a bitter, broken down man, which was a perfect ending to a very complex play.
Despite the cast giving 100%, I did feel that the production lacked some of the polish and finesse I would have liked. Firstly, the diction and volume was at times a little poor – a problem that could very easily have been fixed. The performances were strong, however the overall atmosphere was lacking. Despite each performance being very credible, I believe each character could have been developed further creating a more coherent performance and added depth for the audience. With the talent of the cast I believe a stronger piece of theatre could have been created, however at moments it fell quite flat and lacked the intricate ambiance that Priestley’s work lent itself so readily to.
However, it was still a play I very much enjoyed, purely because of the great talent of acting displayed. The cast should be very proud of themselves and I am looking forward to seeing each of them in future shows.