Theatre review - Theft, Thwaites Empire Theatre, Blackburn

“Theft” – Blackburn Drama Club – Thwaites Empire Theatre

“Theft” – Blackburn Drama Club – Thwaites Empire Theatre - Credit: Archant

“Theft” – Blackburn Drama Club – Thwaites Empire Theatre – Wednesday 28th September 2016

Eric Chappell first began to write novels early in his career, but after a series of rejection letters, he decided to turn his writing hand to the stage. His second play, “The Banana Box” later went on to become the BAFTA Award winning comedy, “Rising Damp” starring Leonard Rossiter. Here, his play “Theft” was performed by the Blackburn Drama Club.

The title “Theft” is pretty self-explanatory to the theme. The storyline is set in the countryside one weekend where couple John and Barbara have invited their friends, Trevor and Jenny, to their country house to help celebrate their wedding anniversary. On arrival back at the house they discover that they have been burgled and, unbeknown to them, the burglar is still in the house. When he is discovered he pretends to be a policeman investigating the case, but really he knows more about the couples than they know about themselves.

This play is Jonathan Mallinson’s first foray into directing. He has chosen a cleverly written, well dialogued piece that required fast moving, comical characters and performances of a high standard to be able to do justice to Eric Chappell’s clever script. The play is witty, it’s intelligent and it is full of essential dialogue. The difficulty he faced was to ensure that each actor brought out the characteristics of the role they played, but to also work together as a group and to really deliver on the fast pace of the script. He has done just that. What the audience were treated to was an action packed, entertaining and often thrilling performance from all of the cast.

As mentioned before, it was essential to differentiate the traits from each character to really bring this story alive. Jeff Moxham was perfect as John Miles whose performance blended from calmness to anger, but often void of emotion which enhanced the character wonderfully. Trevor Farrington was played superbly by David Batterby who really captured the down-on-his luck essence and hidden envy of John’s best friend. Jacqui Mooney was excellent as Trevor’s wife, Jenny, who had a kind hearted nature, but was troubled deep down. Kate Roberts played John’s wife, Barbara, whose real intention and purpose for marriage were never clear. A feisty and often fiery character, Kate got the role spot on. Matthew Wadeson really stood out for me as the burglar, Spriggs. The conductor of the orchestra of their downfall, he held all the strings and played the characters off each other as their friendships and even relationships were pushed to the limit. Matthew was simply magnificent in a detailed, descript, performance with the energy and determination that made the role his own.

I keep running out of superlatives for Blackburn Drama Club, because every time I see one of their shows I am always impressed. Not just with the acting or the directing, but all of the hard work and effort that goes into every single one of their shows, on the stage as well as behind it. They are proud of the shows they put on and we are lucky that we get to see them.

Theft continues from Thursday 29th September – Saturday 1st October at 7:30pm. For more information, visit the Thwaites Empire Website at -