I do, I do, I do
Performed in the Unicorn Theatre 9 - 12 July 2014
by Robin Hawdon
The latest production on offer from Abingdon Drama Club was the UK premiere of the comedy, ‘I do, I do, I do’ by Robin Hawdon. Set in the present day, the action takes place in the living room of a wealthy banker’s home on the outskirts of London. The plot deals with the decisions that Diana (another well-to-do banker’s daughter) has to make in choosing from a trio of possible suitors as her impending marriage to one of the three, Jamie, is scheduled to take place in four weeks time. Diana and Jamie have been ‘close’ for a number of years and have decided to tie the knot with a lavish, society wedding for which preparations are in their final stages. Jamie is dull but dependable in a steadfast kind of way and all seems to be going to plan until Jamie’s best friend and Best man, Geoff, after a brief private discussion with Diana, reveals that he has convinced her to forsake ‘predictable’ Jamie and marry him instead for a life of endless excitement and adventure, to which incidentally, Diana has readily agreed. We also learn that Geoff (who, in contrast to Jamie, is suave, sexy and unpredictable) and Diana have had some kind of brief romantic liason in the recent past. Things really become complicated when Holly, Jamie’s brash and headstrong sister, arrives with her new and rather mysterious boyfriend, Tom. On being introduced, Tom and Diana promptly fall instantly, and by all accounts deeply, in love. It is then the task of the remaining character in the play, Ann, the long-suffering mother of Holly and Jamie to sort out the emotional turmoil which inevitably ensues.
The characters were, by and large, nicely drawn. Geraldine McTier’s Anne convincingly capturing the dismay and shock at seeing her sons forth-coming society wedding plans, and future life, laying in potential ruins and her attempts to resolve the seemingly unresolvable.
Ashley Curran’s Jamie was a good portrayal of a character suddenly placed in an impossible and very emotionally charged situation. He could have delivered some of the lines more slowly and with a little more light and shade. But well done!
I felt Geoff , played with bravado by Lee Orchard, could have been a tad more in the style of a ‘playboy’ in maybe a ‘sharp’ suit. His costume I’m afraid suggested he was going for a stroll in the park. This was another difficult character to portray convincingly but I think Lee managed it well.
Terry Atkinson and Alex Codling brought Tom and Holly effectively to life as the boy/girl friend couple. Both played their parts with conviction and I liked Holly’s reaction to Tom falling for Diana which ranged from hysteria to venomous anger.
Hayley Jones as Diana coped well with another difficult character to play. She showed us she had made the right choice which was revealed in the final few minutes of the piece. Well done! Here again I felt Diana should have been dressed more elegantly, it would have given her that extra ‘haughty’ edge which I felt the character lacked.
I have to say the play did not have me rolling in the aisles and at times I found the ‘comic’ situation on which the play was based slightly unsettling and frankly far-fetched. But that is the playwrights fault and certainly not a view which would in any way reflect on the performances I saw.
The set and lighting were effective and served their purpose. I did feel, however, that the set could have reflected a little more the lavish home it was intended to be. A couple of extra small tables with lamps on them? – a book case maybe? vase of flowers? It was all just a bit sparse. I did like the door to the ‘garden’ though, very effective and inventive. (What was that black rectangle down stage right? It was never referred to.)
Director Keith Hales had assembled a proficient cast who gave the thoroughly appreciative audience a very enjoyable evening. Thank you for inviting me to review your play and for the warm welcome I received, and may I wish you well with your next production.