Tears of laughter from the Players

BLACK COMEDY: Dawn Rowe, Sheila Newton and Rebecca Crampton on stage
BLACK COMEDY: Dawn Rowe, Sheila Newton and Rebecca Crampton on stage

Hilarity and tragedy go hand in hand in the latest production from the Rossendale Players.

Black comedy “The Killing of Sister George” featured a strong all-female cast who provided strong performances and plenty of laughs.

Players regular Dawn Rowe plays the title character, the beloved radio character Sister George, whose real life alter ego June Buckridge is far from likeable.

In fact, so foul is June that it’s difficult for the audience to find any sympathy when the main plotline of the play becomes apparent – her character Sister George is to be killed off.

When June discovers that her character is scheduled to be killed off, she becomes increasingly impossible to work and live with. It is in these moments that she really becomes quite a hateful figure.

That said, Dawn plays the character with aplomb and seems to have real fun in her gin-guzzling, cigar-chomping moments.

Players newcomer Rebecca Crampton plays June’s put-upon younger partner Alice “Childie” McNaught.

Rebecca is superb in the role and brings an ethereal quality and affability to the part.

Another scene-stealer, albeit in a much smaller role, came from Sheila Newton who played the zany, eccentric fortune-teller Madame Xenia.

Sheila’s performance garnered some of the biggest laughs of the night.

The final cast member Emma Morris played the role of the BBC’s Mrs Mercy Croft, who intercedes in the professional and personal lives of the other protagonists.

Emma, another one making her debut for the Players, also puts in a strong performance as the dominant Mrs Croft.

The changing fortunes of Sister George/June, written originally by Frank Marcus, definitely proved to be another great success for the Players.

Director Mark Storton must be credited for keeping the small cast on their toes for never putting a foot wrong in the very wordy play.

Another fantastic “supporting character”, as ever, is the stage setting at the intimate New Millennium Theatre in Waterfoot.

The crew must all be commended for a sterling job.

For more information about the Rossendale Players visit their Facebook page.

The play runs until Saturday, April 9th. Doors open at 7pm for curtains up at 7-30pm.

Tickets are £8 and can be reserved by calling Anne Riding on 01706 228720 or bought from Watts News (next door to the theatre on Burnley Road East).