Written by David Griffiths
Directed by Peter Mitchelson
Wednesday 4th April 2012
After taking Excess Baggage from Liverpool’s
Write Now Festival to Edinburgh Fringe last year, David Griffiths was
back with his new offering for 2012, Saving Grace.
The advertised subject matter of social networking entwined with a Hen
Night landed right on my personal preference button but I have to say
may not have such a must-see appeal for everyone. After a slightly disjointed
and undefined start, Katie and Cheryl, played by Marie Westcott and Angela
Simms respectively, set about organising a surprise Hen Night for Danni
(Esther Dix). It did somehow take until the unexpected and energetic arrival
of Jay (Chris Crookall) to fully kick-start the proceedings. Using simple
costumes and props the stage set was convincing and the comedy component
was both smoothly and naturally delivered. However, try as I did I just
couldn’t make Jay’s clothing into a police uniform until it
was almost a little too late.
Eventually periods of silence in the latter stages did give the girls
a great opportunity to convey some well executed visual expression and
all in all it was indeed a quality performance. Being very much a traditionalist
I did struggle to understand why off stage areas were being used for relatively
intimate dialogue and at times the overall view was somewhat restricted.
The sound links and mobile phone interaction were also an adventurous
piece of direction but in all honesty they worked extremely well. You
couldn’t help but begin to feel for Grace’s wellbeing, whoever
and wherever she was.
With Saving Grace David Griffiths has come
up with a very amusing and enjoyable play. The cast list is one of more-than-acceptable
reputation and it shows. The issue that could ultimately restrict Grace’s
antics from becoming a full touring production may be down to the simple
factor of size of target audience that it can be aimed at. Then again
with a full fringe festival season ahead and DG’s previous tenacity
I could easily be proved wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time….