Dangerous Corner, Street Theatre at Strode Theatre, Street

DANGEROUS Corner was JB Priestley’s first play, and the precursor to his other “time” plays.

Set in 1932, it is the story of an evening in the home of publisher Robert and Freda Caplan, where they are entertaining Robert’s co-director Gordon Whitehouse and his young wife Betty, staff member Olwen and the novelist Miss Mockridge.

It all starts with anguished voices and the sound of a gunshot as the lights go up.  The four women are listening to a radio play, but they missed more than half at the start.  The men come in and the conversation moves to their mutual relationships – “cosy” says Miss Mockridge.  Then it’s downhill all the way.

You might think that sexual freedoms started in the Swinging Sixties, but not according to Priestley, who weaves homosexuality and multiple adulteries into this story, cleverly returning to the start and heading off in a different direction – avoiding the Dangerous Corner.

The production shows all director Peter Wintle’s hallmarks – an impressive soundscape that is not frightened of volume, interesting music, carful attention to detail.

Strode Theatre’s manager, Fares Moussa, plays Robert Caplan, whose brother Martin has killed himself the year before the play is set.  Kevin Hardacre is the arrogant outsider Stanton, and Sean Carr is Gordon, the man with a guilty secret.

Julia Gear-Evans has the underwritten role of Betty, and Elaine Hayne is the stumbling authoress.

It is Susie Tookey and Olwen Herridge who shine in this production, capturing the period of the piece so effortlessly it allows them to create multi-layered and sympathetic, albeit flawed, characters.

Dangerous Corner continues until 23rd March.


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