The Performing Arts and Languages Faculties recently presented a production of Alan Ayckbourn's 'Man of the Moment' which took place at Bede's Senior School in the Miles Studio. The audience were whisked away to the Spanish Riviera bolthole of lead antagonist Vic Parks, a professional bank-robber and TV personality with decidedly questionable morals. Vic was played with flair and bile by James Thompson who, along with a cast made up of Upper Fifth and Sixth students, brought the 1980s excesses right back to life. After stripping their cocktails sticks of pineapple and cheese, the audience entered a performance space housing a real swimming pool, an ably supplied bar and a veranda to view the moral twists of the ensemble.
Cara Hussey brought the self-centred TV presenter Jill Rillington to life as the prying journo aiming to expose the pain of violently boring Douglas Beechey, a former hero who prevented a bank robbery by Parks and whose future wife was harmed by the con-turned-TV-star during said heist. Leo Wynne-Williams tackled this elusive and beautifully drab character, revealing moments of genuine warmth and mirth. Rosa Westcott played the long-suffering and elegant Trudy Parks, second wife to Vic, a character who sees the gentle nature of Beechey and falls for his brand of kind banality. In the shadows, and constantly cradling a beverage, was business savvy Kenny Collins, played by the ever-so-tranquil Tom Haffenden, who steered the characters around any potential litigation with effortless aplomb.
The play is an acerbic investigation into the moral transgressions of society and the selfish decisions even the kindest among us make. Our tragic heroine takes on an unexpected form when the unassuming children's nanny called Sharon accidentally snuffs out her secret beau, Vic. This sensitive and complicated character was presented by the talented Elia Neale, a performer who drew moments of sorrow and joy playing this complicated victim-cum-vanquisher.
Though for much of the cast this was a Bede’s drama swan song, the future looks bright in the form of two U5th performers: Charlie Bennett, who made a literal and metaphorical splash playing the stooge-like gardener Ruy, and Liyana Rawat, who shone as the unfailingly effervescent housemaid Marta.
With grateful applause from the old lags of the Drama Department, we must doff our creative caps to the Head of English, Matt Oliver and Librarian, Sarah Evans for working tirelessly to bring the play to life. Thank you to all those that attended, supported and enjoyed, we raise our Sangrias to you all.