It must be quite rare for the curtains to rise on the first act of a play for the audience to erupt in a storm of applause. But that happened on the February Friday night’s FDS’s performance of N. J. Crisp’s psychological thriller ‘Dangerous Obsession.’
The reason for this somewhat unprecedented occurrence was the audience reaction to the stunning set on the stage illustrating the garden room of a luxury house in the Home Counties.
As director Robin Walker explained in his programme notes, when he began to read the script of Dangerous Obsession, he could not put it down. And as the evening progressed it became evident the audience agreed with him. The drama, a two act play with only three actors throughout, presents a formidable undertaking not only by the actors and director but by the company engaged in all the background services of lighting, sound, props etc. Set in the 1980s , the play focuses on an affluent married couple and a mysterious male visitor to their home. Sally Driscoll, (a welcome back performance by Holly Seijo), is alone when stranger John Barrett, played by Martin Dale, turns up early one summer evening at her lovely home. But is he a complete stranger? This is the first of many twists and turns the audience is treated to as the play progresses.
Enter Chris Franks playing the part of Sally’s husband, Mark Driscoll. He is somewhat taken aback to find a man he doesn’t know in his house chatting to his wife. But is his memory failing him, has he actually met this ‘stranger’ before? and what has this strange man to do with this happily married couple, the Driscolls? Are they really as happily married as they try to portray? The action on stage keeps the audience on their toes as the twists and turns of the script emerge .
All three actors attack their parts with obvious enjoyment excelling in their lengthy speaking roles. Holly, as the glamorous wife, aptly portrays a character torn between being a disappointed and somewhat unhappy woman and one who often turns to alcohol as a support, with a sympathetic and kindly listening ear wanting to help someone she feels is in distress. Her husband, the always watchable Chris Franks, displays pompous anger alternated with cringing frailty together with a great deal of tormented facial expressions. Martin Dale excels as mysterious stranger John Barrett, alternating between the difficult expressions of a frightening and possibly violent nature, to an almost kindly unprepossessing character with a gift for a little dark humour.
The three actors carry the play faultlessly to its end leaving a very satisfied audience in its wake. It is worth mentioning that the production took place during the period of Storm Eunice but stalwart fans of FDS fought their way to the village hall. They were well rewarded for doing so.