Review: High Tor Players production of Duets by Peter Quilter

Bryce Glithero, Susan Devaney, Mark Poole,  Yvonne Walker, Martin Devaney and Jane Small in High Tor Players' production of Duets.
Bryce Glithero, Susan Devaney, Mark Poole, Yvonne Walker, Martin Devaney and Jane Small in High Tor Players' production of Duets.

Two’s company, a three-part comedy and one big chuckle are in store for those yet to see High Tor Players’ production this week.

Duets - which tours to Bakewell’s Medway Centre tonight (Friday, April 17) and Wirksworth Town Hall tomorrow - is an interesting snapshot of love and relationships.

The production flags up the awkwardness of strangers on a blind date, the turmoil of a couple on the brink of divorce and a serial bride to be’s uncertainty on her wedding day.

Susan Devaney and Bryce Glithero launch the evening with Blind Date, playing a middle-aged pair on their first encounter who have hooked up via the small ads in a dating magazine. Both characters have embellished their credentials by stretching the truth. When they meet up their nervousness leads to faux pas, corny jokes and inappropriate remarks. as they dance around each other metaphorically and physically. Susan and Bryce do a good job in portraying characters who are initially on edge but gradually relax as they stumble onto common ground.

Blind Date, directed by Joyce Renner, keeps sound engineer Nic Wilson on his feet as clapping is the cue for dance music and ringing phones are added in.

High Tor’s new faces Yvonne Walker and Mark Poole show great promise in their depiction of a couple whose marriage has ended. The Holiday, directed by Liz McKenzie, sees the troubled twosome in Torremolinos on a break-up break. She’s plastered, having dived into a vat of sangria at a party where she flirted with lustful Spaniards, he’s fed-up with her behaviour and packs his suitcase for an early exit back home. The comedy interaction between the two is as crisp as the giant bag of snacks they attempt to get through, the debris of which led to frantic vacuuming of the stage during the interval at Ashover Parish Hall last night!

The final two-hander sees Jane Small and Martin Devaney playing siblings in The Bride-to-be, directed by Simon Brister. A barrage of bad omens and a plain-speaking brother don’t make for the happiest day in this bride’s life but it does make for some cracking comedy and well thought out visual effects. Much of the humour revolves around the bride’s parachute-style dress and her brother’s comments on her previous two marriages. Jane and Martin work really well together, extracting every ounce of humour out of the roles and eventful situations.

The fourth play in Peter Quilter’s series of Duets, entitled Secretarial Skills, doesn’t feature in this production with the company unable to stage it “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

High Tor launched their show at Youlgreave Village Hall on Wednesday, April 15.