Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Theater: 'Good Manners'

Theater: 'Good Manners'

Theater: 'Good Manners'

The Phnom Penh Players, an enthusiastic non-profit theatrical group, last month

gave residents a third opportunity to see English theater.

After Tom Stoppard's take-off of a detective play and two short pieces by Noel

Coward, Oct. 23 saw them progress to Alan Ayckbourn's "Table Manners" staged

at the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel and directed by Bill Lobban, his last production.

Ayckbourn, well-known in Scarborough, England, where his own company has first crack

at all his plays, is a prolific observer of the English middle class scene. Perpetually

at odds with most romantic literature, "Table Manners", the first of "The

Norman Conquest" trilogy, is typical of his work. Portraying middle class family

attitudes, marriages that have lost their savor, all against the backdrop of sexual

warfare in all its guises.

The plot is simple yet multi-layered. Annie (Kathy Attfield) an unmarried daughter

who has let herself go to seed looking after an invalid mother, is finally going

off on a dirty week-end with lusty Norman (Peter Griffith), the husband of her near-sighted

sister Ruth (Vicki Rogers). Sarah (Hanne Moll Christensen), a neurotically verbose

house wife with two children comes down to hold the fort with Reg (Nick Hughes),

with whom she has a cat-and-dog relationship. Tom (Craig Martin) shy and more at

home with animals, is a long-time ineffectual suitor of Annie.

Sarah finds out, tries to enlist the rest of the family to blackball Norman while

attempting ineffectively to matchmake Tom and Annie. In the end Annie, for whom it

is all too much, succumbs into Norman's arms ready for the shot of sexual joy he

will offer any willing woman.

The play, relatively static, depends for its effect on fast-paced dialogue. The actors,

who well conveyed their persona, meet the challenge. Sarah, despite a few lapses

with her lines, maintained the required degree of nervous energy throughout.

Ruth conveys a well-judged weariness with her husband, the child she never had. Tom's

exasperating clumsy ineptness comes across well. Reg's relish with his cutting dialogue

is obvious. The main protagonists, unkempt, frustrated Annie and Norman, always ready

to dispense happiness if a one-night-stand offers, hold the play together.

The group are to be congratulated although acoustical problems and a lack of voice

projection among some of the cast made it difficult for those at the back to hear

well. The two dinner evenings, the first banquets put on at the hotel by Roger Mitchell,

were a triumph of organization.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and