Puppy Love

by H Connolly

14th – 17th May 2008

The Compton Players are delighted to present another world premiere comedy from our very own playwright, H Connolly.

Set in 1979, Puppy Love takes place the day before Kevin and Bernice’s wedding. Kevin’s stag night gets off to a slow start, but Bernice’s quiet night out with the girls takes an unexpected turn. Will Bernice overcome her doubts in time for the wedding? Will the cool cat that Kevin spends the night with spoil things?

puppyloveposter

The Cast

Norma Gibson: Cathy Leatham
Kevin Gibbson: Philip Prior
Joan Smallshaw: Kate Phillips
Bernice Smallshaw: Helen Saxton
Arthur Smallshaw: Nick Roberts
Alan Briggs: Pete Watt
Trevor Pontin: Robin Hawkins
Jane Brown: Rebecca Warrington
Sue Hains: Tracey Pearce
Horny Stranger: Mark Bailey
Maurice: Himself
Lady in Pub: Brenda Prior
PC Stubbs: Charlie East

Produced by H Connolly

Newbury Weekly News review

Home-grown comedy

Having enjoyed a previous production by the Compton Players, I was pleased to have the opportunity of another visit. Puppy Love was written by one of the members, H Connolly and he also directed the play which is no easy task. It had a good storyline with some delightful pieces of humour, although I was surprised to see young children in the audience – the obscure reference on the posters to the strong language appeared to have gone unnoticed.

The story revolved around the hen and stag nights of Bernice and Kevin, on the eve of their wedding. She ends up spending the night with the gorillagram and he falls asleep in the graveyard, wearing a ball and chain, in the company of an escaped tiger. All good opportunities for comedy, but the laughter was patchy. Norma (Cathy Leatham), Sue (Tracey Pearce) and Alan (Pete Watt) introduced some pace but for the most part the delivery lacked flow.The comedy idea of Robin Hawkins’ character of Trevor, whose misunderstanding and slowness on the uptake, enhanced by a squaw’s outfit, created amusing moments throughout the play.

The bar and disco scenes needed atmosphere, the music was switched off abruptly, rather than being faded down to provide the background expected in such locations, furthermore, the offstage disco crowd noise only occurred when referred to. With the group’s new sound equipment, I feel that improvements could be made here; the pre-show and interval music was cut off sharply and the sound effects were poor despite so much being readily available nowadays.

Charlie East’s PC Stubbs arrival, later in the play, prompted some good, well timed comic moments and it was appreciated by the audience. I also liked the off-beat humour of the Lady in the Pub. At the end when Joan (Kate Phillips) shows concern for her daughter (Helen Saxton) by revealing her own infidelity, there was a very good change of mood. This soliloquy was done well to a hushed audience and, with Bernice’s phone call to Kevin, it brought the situation and the play to a tidy end.

PETER KEARNS

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