REVIEW: Entertaining Angels, Westovian Theatre, South Shields, Until March 21

HIGH STANDARD ... Entertaining Angels is on at the Westovian Theatre.
HIGH STANDARD ... Entertaining Angels is on at the Westovian Theatre.
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THE first thing that hits you as you enter the auditorium is the set; it looks fantastic and is one of the best I’ve ever seen in the borough, amateur or professional.

And it is fitting that this production continues the high standard throughout, from start to finish. The acting and Peter Dawson’s direction are up there among the best I’ve ever seen at the Westovians.

Poretta-Brown is, as you’d expect from a seasoned professional, outstanding and with the subject matter coaxes top-notch performances from the rest of the cast.

Writer Richard Everett has penned a thought-provoking play that has occasional moments of witty comedy amid dark episodes, and it’s a testament to the cast and director that these comedy interludes don’t feel forced or jar with the action.

Dolores Poretta-Brown, as the recently widowed Grace, leads a welcome cast of Westovian veterans: Ron Markwick, Beryl Henderson and Mary Stephinson, with Miriam Beber as Grace’s daughter Jo.

The action takes place in a rural English vicarage garden, but don’t let that put you off. There’s never a dull moment. A thoroughly entertaining first half is followed by a second half that sky rockets.

Grace’s vicar husband Bardolph (Markwick) has just died and her eccentric missionary sister Ruth (Henderson) has returned from Uganda with a secret that affects Grace’s life. Sarah (Stephinson) is the new vicar moving into the to-be vacated vicarage and has a crisis of faith, while Jo (Beber) is a psychoanalysist with problems of her own.

It’s a combustible mix.

Poretta-Brown is, as you’d expect from a seasoned professional, outstanding and with the subject matter coaxes top-notch performances from the rest of the cast.

And it all looks so good. David Gibson, Tristan Gaines and Ian Johnson should also take a well-deserved bow.

Highly recommended.

Entertaining Angels runs until Saturday. Click here to find out how to book tickets.