2016 - Funeral Games

Joe Orton -the bad boy of British Playwrights - always set out to shock 
and surprise and The Russell Players latest production of his 1968 black 
comedy "Funeral Games" did so in an amusing and entertaining manner.
Nigel Adams' neat production  utilised a very effective split 
set, which kept the action moving along well. The absurdity of the 
unlikely and complex plot, (involving a 60's Cult leader who hires a 
dubious thug to kill his wife in revenge for her apparent affair with a 
Catholic priest!), was brought to the fore. Orton's  anti religious 
theme and his biting satire of suburban hypocrisy and immorality came 
through with humour, pace and a vibrancy of touch.

Chris Partridge (playing Pringle,a self styled religious guru and con 
man), set in motion the action of the play well, adopting a self 
dilusional and literally "Holier than thou" approach. He was suitably 
persecuting and judgemental of his somewhat simple minded and naïve wife 
Tessa (played by Tessa Costin). The difficult role of the mysterious and 
strangely appealing underworld hit man Caulfield,was played with 
menacingly evil overtones by Mitch Mitchell.  Glynn Marshall was 
convincingly amusing as the hapless defrocked priest  McCorquodale, 
(who, it is later revealed, has  murdered his own wife and buried her in 
the cellar!) The absurdly farcical yet disturbing mood of the piece was 
caught well,and the relationships between the characters effectively 
presented by all four actors.  The absurd situations which the 
characters created for themselves,combined with Orton's  black humour, 
brought home to the audience  Orton's cynical and somewhat sinister  
view of  organised religion of all kinds.  This combined with some very 
entertaining and witty banter, made for an enjoyable and thought 
provoking performance.

Duncan Hamilton