Stillwater Reflections

(Centenary Theatre)


By Matthew Bass

Amateur production

Still waters run very deep, and Ben Starkey, who produced and co-wrote this little amateur show with Matthew Bass, admitted to me that he’d only been to live theatre about three times in his life before he decided it was time to get a play up and running.

So, with lots of confidence and no experience, he saw a couple of live shows, read a few scripts from Shakespeare and Chekhov, and decided that anything they could do, he could do equally well.

Obviously he couldn’t, but this off-beat little comedy works surprisingly well. Matthew Bass’s script is very funny, mainly because of his acute ear for dialogue, and I wasn’t itching to leave at interval, as I often am with shows of this kind (although I never do, I swear!).

So what do you get for your fifteen bucks? You get two dole-bludgers (Andrew, played by Matthew Bass, and Leonard, played by Stephen Davies), who want money, cars and the ability to pull the chicks. Their scruffy flat in a run-down country town called Stillwater is broken into by an incompetent burglar (Daniel Mulvihill), who blackmails them into hiding from the police.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – or the office of Reflections, the six-page local rag – Raylene (Gemma Yates-Round) and the tough-minded editor Jill (Jillian Wood) are bemoaning their dull and dreary lives, as well they might, if Andrew and Leonard are any indication of the local talent.

Add a cross-dressing police constable (Ronan Lock) whose night job is as a psychic in the local bar, some rough trade in the form of Raelene’s ex-boyfriend (Brent Dunner), and a few minor characters, and you have a recipe for pure inanity.

Everyone in this production is a rank amateur, and neither acting, directing nor technical effects rise much above undergraduate level. But it’s so silly that at times it almost soars and, bad as it is, I sort-of enjoyed it in spite of myself.

Directed by Matthew Bass

Playing until 16 April (Thursday – Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 6pm)

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including interval

— Alison Cotes
(Performance seen: Thu 31st March 2005)