Since the unfortunate demise of the Hayes Players in 2020, Theatre 62, based at the top of Corkscrew Hill has become our ‘neighbouring’ society. Their name of course is the clue to their 60th Anniversary this year and ‘Dangerous Corner’ was in no way a reflection of the stage they’d reached in their impressive journey to date.
Theatre 62 is a unique society insofar as it not only has its very own premises complete with a bar but also constructs raked seating for every production, thus allowing its audiences excellent viewing facilities as they are able to look down onto the stage below much in the same way as ‘circle’ seats in a West End theatre. Such seating flexibility also enables ‘in the round’ productions where the audience actually ‘surrounds’ the actors.
But to the production itself, expertly directed by Patricia Melluish. Set in 1932, ‘Dangerous Corner’ is a J B Priestley classic demanding a period set, period costume and period stiff upper lip/middle-class diction. All three were perfection. In fact, so absorbing were the action and individual performances that one could easily imagine that this could well have passed for a 30’s professional performance in London’s West End. As the action progressed so the melodrama, characteristic of the period, grew more outrageous to the point that one bemused audience member let out an exclamation of shock much to the delight of the audience and almost the cast themselves. Particular mention must be made of movement around the set when it involved 7 cast members on stage for the most part. In this respect, I found the use of bench seating in the bay window most effective complementing as it did, the meaningful stage direction throughout the play.
Effortlessly and with some considerable panache, this talented cast presented an excellent mystery melodrama where truth and lies almost appeared one and the same.