Skip to content

The Show Must Go On

This afternoon I went to the matinee of the J.B. Priestley play Dangerous Corner at Malvern Theatres. It’s a murder mystery play, in which a chance remark at a dinner party reopens the apparently closed matter of the suicide of a family member the previous year. More and more skeletons come tumbling out of the cupboard – adultery, homosexuality, sexual assault, multiple unrequited passions, theft, greed. It turned out that every member of the party had a part to play in the events leading up to the death, they all had secrets to hide, and had been lying to each other for years.

At the beginning of the play, the stage manager came on with a clipboard. Never a good sign! It turned out that there had been a very nasty car accident mid-week involving some of the cast members. One of the actresses playing a leading role had been hospitalised overnight and was now recovering at home; another had a very bad back and was also recuperating. There had obviously been some massive reshuffling of parts behind the scenes, but they clearly hadn’t planned enough understudies to cope with two of the four female roles needing cover simultaneously. The most minor role was therefore filled by an actress drafted in from London with two and a half hours notice! She was sight-reading from the script, clearly not having had time to do anything more than the most rudimentary rehearsal!

The cast did an excellent job in the circumstances. There was a bit more stumbling over their lines than I would expect from a professional cast, but I’ve seen far worse. The understudies had clearly prepared their parts well and been thoroughly rehearsed, and on the whole it was a testament to the professionalism of the whole company that they pulled it off. It was very much a case of “The Show Must Go On”, and indeed it did.