2023 - Mitigating Circumstances


Write up by Ellyn Wright

An entertaining evening was had by those who attended the Russell Players’ latest production the thought provoking, ‘Mitigating Circumstances’ by Juliet Devon.  As well as a brilliant performance we were provided with a delicious two course, light supper.  All in all, it was a very professional evening’s entertainment.

Emma (Deni Smale) delights us with cool apathy in the first scene that gripped the audience in a nervous laughter, as we all questioned her motives.  She calmly counts out and discards Simon’s medication, and procrastinates from calling an ambulance when Simon collapses, clutching his chest.

His death, we learn, was not unexpected. Dr Smith (Andy Witting) laments to the newly widowed Emma, that if only Simon had taken his condition more seriously, his early demise could have been avoided.

When Emma’s sister Jackie (Lynn Wright) and friends Sam (Sheila Partington) and Alison (Sarah Mapleston) come to stay, they reminisce over a cocktail (or three), and more twists and turns are revealed.

The dramatic flashbacks shed light on this confusion culminating in high points of tension. Simon’s heavily pregnant colleague, Claire (Claire Hamilton) makes a bold claim, and Simon’s abuse is caught on camera, in an excruciating confrontation.

Duncan Hamilton makes for an imposing, convincing, and controlling Simon, captivating the audience as he snarls his way across the stage and missing no opportunity to find fault in his wife.

Swallowfield’s First Responder Barry Davis, played the part of the paramedic to perfection, and Director Chris Partridge, managed Juliet Devon’s whirlwind of a script thoughtfully, balancing humour and sensitivity in this black comedy.

Amongst the audience there was a sense of solidarity for Emma, with many questioning what they would do in this fraught situation.  After all, there were mitigating circumstances.

Ellyn Wright