Cold Comfort Farm

May 2003


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Cold Comfort Farm - by Paul Doust
Performed - May 2003 at Blackfriars Theatre

Synopsis
Aunt Ada rules the Starkadder household. This is because, as a child, she saw something nasty in the woodshed and has been dining out on it ever since. Aunt Ada likes chaos and argument, high emotion and bitter feuding. Recently orphaned niece Flora Poste likes none of these things, she likes all to be neat and tidy about her. So when she comes to live with the Starkadders something has to give. This adaptation of the classic comic novel gives us sex, religion and tricycles as well as Hollywood producers, three legged cows and scranlets. Will Ada or Flora triumph? Will Rennet stop leaping down the well? Will Urk get his evil way with Elfine? Find out in Cold Comfort Farm... 

Review
Flora Flourishes on Playgoers’ Farm
“I saw something nasty in the woodshed” – well, whatever Aunt Ada saw, it was definitely not Boston Playgoers’ latest theatrical offering.

The story of Cold Comfort Farm revolves around Flora. She goes to live with the Starkadders, her chaotic relatives in the country, and becomes determined to sort them out. They are simple folk, like animals or small children. The audience warmed to them as characters, especially the vulnerable Elfine (Jayne Allen) skipping about like a little girl, and Adam Lambsbreath (Patrick Hall), reminiscent of Joe Grundy of The Archers.

The only character it was difficult to warm to was that of Seth (Adam Priestley). Unlike Kathy Fullerton’s great portrayal of Aunt Ada Doom, there was no logical progression in the character and he was changeable with no apparent motives.

However, this play belongs to Flora – she has the most lines and is in every scene, not only as part of the action but also commentating on it to the audience. Lorna Bucknall brings to life a part that could so easily have been annoying. She is a know-it-all who can be brutally condescending at times, but Lorna reveals Flora’s underlying good purpose. She wants to make life better for everyone., endearing herself to the audience in the process.

Sam Zwemmer has done a fantastic job with the largest Playgoers cast for some time. Even the actors with few or no lines acted their hearts out and it was a pleasure to watch such commitment. The play will be performed again this Saturday in a festival at the Embassy Centre in Skegness. Break a leg, Playgoers – you deserve to do really well.
Melissa Marlowe

Cast
Actors names on right:

Flora Poste - Lorna Bucknall 
Aunt Ada Doom - Kathy Fullerton 
Judith Starkadder - Glyn Ruskin 
Elphine Starkadder - Jayne Allen 
Rennet Starkadder - Carol Walmsley 
Dandelion Starkadder - Genna Martin 
Jane Starkadder - Amelia Leak 
Mrs Hawk Monitor - Ros Blowers 
Amos Starkadder - John Jackson 
Reuben Starkadder - Phillip Landshoft 
Seth Starkadder - Adam Priestley 
Urk Starkadder - Kevin Johnson 
Jacob Starkadder - Richard Hutson 
Adam Lambsbreath - Patrick Hall 
Richard Hawk Monitor - Charles Findlay 
Mr Neck - Alex Findlay 
Charles - Stuart Farrar 
Sneller - Peter Kay 
Chorus - Gail McNeale, Leigh Thorne, Peter Kay 
Assorted Starkadders / Quivering Brethren / Ball & Wedding Guests - Ros Blowers, Stuart Farrar, Alex Findlay, Charles Findlay, John Lingard, Genna Martin, Suzette Morris, Glyn Ruskin 

Production Team

Director - Sam Zwemmer 
Producer & Assistant Director - John Jackson 
Producer & Stage Manager - Diane Sharpe 
Stage Crew - Wayne Waite, Rachael Geddes 
Set Design - Sam Zwemmer 
Set Construction - Paul Gibson, Clive Taylor 
Set Artists - Sam Zwemmer, John Lingard 
Costume - Glyn Ruskin, Suzette Morris, Sam Zwemmer, Violet Truelove Wardrobe, 'Wear It' of Portobellow Row 
Furniture & Properties - Kirton Antiques 
Lighting - Paul Gibson 
Sound - Paul Gibson 
Poster & Programme - John Lingard 
Publicity - John Richards 
Make Up - Alicja Frankowski 
Prompt - Judith Hall