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Double Vision – Tyldesley Little Theatre

Eric Chappell has written many successful TV comedies and several plays, all with his witty style and talent for bringing the most ordinary of characters to life, often with more than one situational twist.

Double Vision has such a twist in that there are twins in the mix that causes a whole host of issues, including confusion, deception and to quote Chappell a ‘menage a trois’!

Reeling from the shock of a lottery win, Arthur Spinks sets about deceiving both his friend, and a neighbour as he convinces them he has money to burn, when in truth the win is nothing but an exaggerated fantasy, which wouldn’t have been the case had he put the lottery ticket on.

Arthur quickly entices his rather alcohol dependent neighbour Kingsley, into his web of lies. This is further exaggerated when Arthur meets dowdy Dawn Pringle, as they befriend each other. Arthur doesn’t realise he’s being conned by the dowdy god-fearing neighbour, who has an alter ego in her ‘twin’, Donna Miller. At the same time, Dawn/Donna doesn’t realise that Arthur’s money doesn’t exist! Throw in a persistent female financial advisor who is constantly on the phone, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Alex Clarke is on form as Arthur, with a steady delivery taking us through the many twists and turns of this piece.  Alex has a knack for great comic delivery, and this came across well. The character has failing eyesight, which Alex portrays well. As an ex-boxer, Arthur must have had several bangs to the head as he certainly wasn’t thinking straight as he messed up one deception after the other. Some good characterisations from Alex here as he tries, somewhat unsuccessfully, to convince Kingsley and Dawn/Donna that he is in control.

Connor Parkinson plays a good drunk – he had no choice in this role as his character, Kingsley, drinks copious amounts of alcohol, of every kind from start to finish. With so many lines to learn and maintaining a drunken state, Connor never dropped a line or strayed from his character. No mean feat, but a task Connor took on and did himself proud.

Gemma Manfredi was kept busy with changing from one character to another as she switches between Dawn Pringle, the afore mentioned dowdy spinster-type complete with long skirt, long cardigan and sensible shoes, to Donna Miller, a sexy bombshell with attire to match her raunchy persona. Gemma played both parts to perfection. Just the right amount of timidity for Dawn and bucket loads of sass and allure for Donna. Gemma gave a standout performance, ensuring both characters were different and had obviously done her homework, in terms of bringing these characters from page to stage.

TLT have a strong production crew. Props, costumes, set design and construction, sound and lights are always well considered. These aspects of theatre are sometimes taken for granted. Eddie Stanley, Ian Hunter, Margaret Speakes, Jenny Whur, Paul Whur, Peter Gower and Karen Ward deserve a mention for their efforts in making this production possible.

It appears director, Jenny Whur is somewhat a ‘fan’ of Eric Chappell as this is the 5th play of his pen that she has directed. Jenny knows how to get the best from these scripts and her approach and clear direction always works well. Congratulations Jenny on a job well done.

Paul Cohen