Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Loose lips show JB Priestley’s debut has real staying power

Loose lips show JB Priestley’s debut has real staying power

Dangerous Corner | Kenton Theatre | Tuesday, October 15

THE Henley Players’ production of Dangerous Corner, which premiered in 1932 at the Lyric Theatre in London, provides gripping proof of the play’s staying power.

It is JB Priestley’s first play and, like the phenomenally successful An Inspector Calls, Dangerous Corner uses time as a theatrical device and is believed to have inspired the Gwyneth Paltrow film Sliding Doors.

The play opens at the end of a dinner party at the country home of publishers Robert and Freda Caplan. Guests are listening to the end of a radio play, which sets the mood for the drama to come.

Unable to find a suitable station, the talk turns to the death of Martin Caplan, Robert’s younger brother.

An off-the-cuff remark by Olwen Peel (a sympathetic Michela Evans), a company employee, prompts Robert Caplan, played easily and convincingly by Michael Mungarvan, to push for the truth no matter what and in doing so provokes a series of revelations with devastating consequences.

Henley Players stalwart Tim Harling is Charles Stanton, an employee of the publishing house with an easy feckless charm, while his real-life wife Gráinne Harling plays Robert’s despairing spouse.

Dan Powell as Gordon Whitehouse and his peekaboo wife (Lili Tuttle) make up the house party along with the visiting authoress Miss Mockridge (Trudy Hathaway).

The set is clever, with its dramatic red curtains framing a blue void, and works well as a benign backdrop when the drinks flow easily and conversation is light and carefree — but it quickly becomes forboding when the revelations start.

Dangerous Corner is playing until Saturday. For tickets and times, visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk

Isobel Shepherd-Smith

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