Review: Two one act plays by MHP Theatre

Entertainment / Sun 20th Nov 2022 at 09:45am

ON Thursday and Friday, MHP Theatre put on two one-act plays. The Ugly Duckling by A A Milne and From Here to the Library by Jimmie Chinn.

The Ugly Duckling

Plot: The king and queen are worried because their daughter, Princess Camilla, is very plain, or rather appears to be plain because of a spell put on her at birth. The spell says that only the eyes of true love will reveal her beauty. Her parents come up with a plan to marry her to a prince from a far-away land who is unaware of what she looks like. They force Camilla to trade places with her beautiful but silly maid, Dulcibella, before the prince arrives.

This reviewer ran out of patience with this play. We don’t think it was the actors or the directors fault. There just came a time when you started to feel “so what” It was neither really a comedy or a farce.

There are some fine lines: “Her beauty is…elusive”

The cast couldn’t be faulted and brought out the characters but when it ended after 45 minutes there was a sense of “is that it?”

It felt like a play that needed to breathe more. Or may be this reviewer didn’t get it.

From Here to the Library

We loved this. We loved everything about it.

Beryl Tidy, whose life is dominated by her elderly, irascible and demanding father, works at the library and finds that it is her only escape. She has a new boss at the library, Mr Gostilow, who has just moved to the North from London. When Beryl storms out of work after an uncharacteristic fit of temper and fails to return, Gostilow visits her to find out why.

All three actors were at the top of their game. Chris Millington always sets a high bar and his “Dad” was once again top notch.

The performance of the night was Linda Helm-Manley who played Beryl with pin point perfection. She held the middle of the stage as she balanced her dedication to her demented father with her feelings for Mr Gostilow.

Myles Lovell played Mr Gostilow and he was the glue that kept the play together.

It was a joy to watch these three perform together.

The late Jimmie Chinn wrote many episodes of Emmerdale and Coronation Street. His theatre work always have people and the human condition at its heart. If you are going to take on his work then you need to bring depth to his characters. That is what the three actors and directors certainly did.

In conclusion, we love MHP Theatre because they try stuff. Some times it works and sometimes it doesn’t but they never commit the sin of being boring.

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