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

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of