NODA have reviewed our last production, ‘Sex Cells’ and the review is attached below.
Thanks to NODA and all of their reps for the support ove rthe last twenty years.
SEX CELLS a play performed by ‘Too Friendly Theatre Company’ on Saturday, 18th May, 2019 at The Little Theatre, Houghton Street, Southport.
Written by Anne Longaretti in 2012, this play is set in a busy call centre, where four female employees take telephone orders for Aphrodite’s, a sex toy manufacturer. Beneath the cheerful customer service and easy banter, lies four very different women, who all nurse their own desires and disappointments.
I would suggest that there are no leading actors in this play, just a cast of five, four females and a male coming together to work very well as a ‘team’; a team that was well cast and who provided some wonderfully interesting characters. We are never told how these four disparate ladies get thrown together in a sex shop… but do we need to know!
The start of the play sees us ‘introduced’ to our four female ‘call centre workers’………
Star employee ‘Lillian’ – ‘Lily’ played by Tracy Holmes-Smith, a mature lady who is stuck in a loveless marriage and living her life estranged from her son; she buries her pain in wisecracks and work. Tracy handled this role really well; the telephone conversation with her ‘estranged son’ in Act One was ‘believable’ and ‘full of emotion’ a real highlight for me! Jenny Roby gave a thoughtful emotional performance as ‘Sylvie’ the French woman desperate to have a baby and who, after several unsuccessful IVF attempts, becomes so obsessed with pregnancy that she barley talks about anything else. Jenny was well cast and believable in this role as was Joanne Wasilew who played the part of ‘Janice’, a working mum with five children who barely has time for herself let alone her husband. Joanne always gives credible performances and as ‘Janice’ she was able to show the many sides of the character, well done. Jen Johnson as ‘Tiffany’ was impressive as the young, single, ‘Essex Girl’, who was looking for ‘the one’ whilst still being very wary of sacrifice her independence.
Making up the ‘team’ was the sole male, the gentle and innocent manager Mr. Causeway played ever so well by Mark Haygarth. Mr Causeway attempts to diffuse all the tension between his staff while suppressing his longstanding crush on the oblivious Lily.
Two ‘outstanding’ features for me from this play were the ‘telephone conversations’ made by all four girls to/with their customers. The conversations were so ‘believable’ and ‘real’… so much so, I felt I could actually hear what the customers were asking for… which was very scary! Well done girls! The second outstanding feature was whenever any of the cast, especially Mr Causeway, were on stage and not actually ‘in the scene’ they all stayed in character … making the scene(s) much more ‘real’! Well done everyone, that isn’t always easy to achieve.
The staging was simplistic but effective and created an effective backdrop for the production, congratulations to Sue Fryer (Stage Manager). The props were very good throughout and well-managed. The costumes too, were very good and in keeping with the piece. The lighting quality was excellent throughout – thanks to Stephen Illingworth for achieving that. This really was a poignant play that dealt with so many issues….motherhood, adoption, IVF, friendship, love, loss and so much more!
All five actors really did work their ‘socks off’. They took us on their own personal emotional journey whilst providing us with some great characterisation and so much to reflect upon…well done! There was so much I liked about this production, yet I just felt something was missing, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that was!
Congratulation to Director Cliff Gillies on a great job with this play, it was well cast, well acted and wonderfully staged.
Congratulations also to the ‘Too Friendly Theatre Company’ who celebrate their 20th Anniversary this year; on behalf of NODA I’d like to congratulate everyone involved with Too Friendly Theatre Company for reaching this wonderful ‘milestone’ in their history.