Review: Light One Up, Marde Hen Productions

Writer Jane Wilton certainly packed plenty of action into her new play Light One Up. We had a wedding and a funeral and even the birth of a baby in the 90 minutes or so the cast from Marde Hen Productions were on the stage.

And while all that was going on the audience also became privy to the secret desires, dreams and torments of each of the diverse characters forced together in the smoking area at the fish finger factory where they work.

Many of life’s paradoxes were played out on the stage by the nine actors huddled together in solidarity under their makeshift shelter.

Marde Hen are a theatre company which set out to produce shows from new writers and Light One Up is their fourth production. Jane has acted and directed in the past, mainly for the Belper Players, and was in Marde Hen’s Eagle Award-nominated Fish and Chips.

Her fascination in the sub-culture which sprang up when smoking was banned in public places and people became united while outside having a cigarette led to her writing and directing this play.

Jane’s characters are a bitter and angry Sandra played by Ann Taylor; Betty, a non-smoking, prissy secretary, played by Verna Bayliss; an earnest, left-leaning poet Mervyn played by Wayne Parkin; the dopey but delightful, food obsessed Lisa played by Kerry-Ann Roe; Simon a sensitive gay man played by Mik Horvath; elderly lollipop lady Floss played by Jane Robertson; her quiet son John played by Martin Weston; Bruce played by Terry Stevenson and the aging DJ ‘Duvet’ Dave played by Pip Price.

There were some hilarious one-liners in the script as well as some very poignant revelations and the whole team worked hard to stage an enjoyable show which was well-received by an appreciative audience.

It can be seen again this evening (Friday December 2) and tomorrow at 7.30pm at The Strutts Centre, Belper.

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