Bazaar and Rummage stands with a posture typical of Sue Townsend’s other works. A play that had yet to achieve my recognition, I was eager to watch Sudbury Dramatics Society’s (SDS) realisation of the text.
Townsend’s text is one that demands a great deal of humility. The text explores a range of controversial (and somewhat sinister) themes; mental health, dependency and sexual identity to name a few.
However, Townsend’s wit allows these to be presented through a comical inoculation that renders them digestible, but not diluted. With such complex narrative mechanics to appreciate from the off, SDS did well to present a competent and enthusiastic performance that conveyed strong and pertinent messages.
During the first act, the audience are introduced to the main characters.
Within minutes, SDS presented a clear and self-assured style of performance. Histrionics were no problem in confirming the serious undertones of Townsend’s bitter humour.
Catherine Drew’s portrayal of ‘Bel-Bel’ deserves particular notoriety; here naturalism and commitment to the most intricate of details made her character a point of focus throughout the entire production.
The second act allowed the audience to develop a greater understanding of the inter-personal relationships and contexts of those present on stage, the depth to each individual’s back story growing exponentially.
Elin Massey’s delivery of Margaret Gittings’ monologue was particularly moving; her performance demonstrated a great amount of vocal, physical and atmospheric control.
Director Jonathan Scripps’ main goal was to ‘get the best out of people’, and I think it is more than fair to say he succeeded.
Bazaar and Rummage is on at Sudbury’s Quay Theatre each night at 7.45pm until Saturday.