Summer End
by Eric Chappell
Published by Samuel French
Performed; 24th-26th November 2016
Produced by Vivien Hughes
Assistant Producer – Stella Dobson
Emily Baines – Andrea Varnavides
May Brewer – Kathryn Wilkinson
Mrs Lang – Sarah Merrifield
Sally – Kim Tomlin
Alan Baines – Andrew Lamb
Stage Management
Stage Manager – Brian Marston
Technical Supervisor – John Burgess
Wardrobe – Gill Crampton Smith
Props – Irene McCartney and Irene Sayer
Make-Up – Bronwen Robinson, Sheila Telfer and Faye Henderson
Prompt – Stella Wallace and Irene McCartney
Decor – Vivien Hughes
Stage Crew – Alistair Babbington, Mick Brown, John Burgess, Brian Marston, Lewis Murray and Michael Payne
Theatre Management
Licensee – John Burgess
House Management – Charis Varnavides and team
Box Office – Gill Milner
Publicity – Andrea Varnavides
Refreshments – Anna Sweeney and team
Sweetshop – Jill Marston and team
Photography – Michael Payne
Cast Portraits – Chris Varnavides
RoCo wishes to thank all those members and friends who helped to make this production possible.

The Play
Emily Baines and May Brewer share a room in a retirement home. Emily's previous roommate, Bella, dies not so long ago. Iron-willed but forgetful, Emily is certain that Bella was murdered by one of the carers, and believes that she has the evidence to prove it! But when her evidence disappears and Bella's sapphire ring is found among her possessions, Emily cannot remember enough about her own past actions to stop the finger of suspicion from pointing at her.

by Diana Sutherland
Summer End has been described as a light hearted murder mystery play, but it also contains many home truths about getting old that once or twice in the play comes seriously close to real life, as it explores old age. Vivien Hughes and her team are to be congratulated on a very fine and thoughtful production. The set was well lit, allowing the cast to move freely about the stage, very cosy shared room in a residential home, uncluttered even with two single beds, belaying the dark drama which was to take place.
The entire action takes place in the room shared by Emily (Andrea Varnavides) and May (Kathryn Wilkinson). The two actors carried off the slick, humorous dialogue to perfection, at the same time demonstrating the distinct differences in personality; dour negativity in the case of Emily and upbeat hopefulness in May. The caring, business-like home manager, Mrs Lang, was played by Sarah Merrifield, whose performance gave us confidence that there was nothing amiss and the suspicions of Emily about the recent death of Bella (her late roommate), were entirely in Emily's imagination.
Emphasis is made of Emily's decreasing faculties. Sally, the care worker (Kim Tomlin) was the obvious suspect and Kim played this part so well we quite believed she could have had a part in the dark doings, but on reflection there was nothing in her manner which actually gave rise to anything suspicious, except Emily's continual grumbling about her.
The role of Emily's son, Alan, was played by Andrew Lamb with total understanding of the part. It was in the dialogue between Alan and his mother, Emily, that the sadness of a deteriorating relationship became clear. All through their lives they had thought they were doing the best for each other, but had now arrived at the sad stage of nagging and misunderstanding which can happen in many parent/child relationships.
The unmasking of Emily's suspicions about the death of Bella comes with a startling suddenness. At this point Emily's son comes into his own. Voila! It turns out he is a policeman. He calmly takes charge and the disillusioned, unhappy son becomes the calm, competent detective (overtones of An Inspector Calls). Sally the care worker calling him in, just on the nick of time because she was suspicious about his mother's locked bedroom door!
A great evening, production and cast to be congratulated. Eric Chappell would be pleased!

Photo Gallery
Browse a collection of photos from the dress rehearsal for Summer End!
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