‘Dark and Hilarious in Equal Measure’: A Review of Plays by Roger Goldsmith

Despite the torrential rain, every seat was taken for Wednesday’s performance of a collection of plays and monologues by Roger Goldsmith. S&C‘s own theatre critic Jackie Green reports.
Southsea Cinema and Arts Centre’s first live theatre run treated us to a smorgasbord of delights. Five plays, seven talented actors, several murders, a funeral, a prosecution and a chance meeting in a furniture store evoked empathy, violence, wonder and laugh-out-loud humour. All of this comes from the imagination of well-known local playwright Roger Goldsmith.
The evening opened with a short appetizer, ‘Gnomes’, in which Sue Bartlett served up our first character, a real force to be reckoned with: a friendly but devious woman who has serious concerns about her pregnant neighbour. Sue was both dark and hilarious in equal measures. The second ‘course’, young and impressive Oliver Sadler, filled the stage with various personalities in ‘Budgie,’ reliving childhood nightmares and long-kept secrets. His focus and ability to inhabit several characters, simultaneously, was impressive. The last play before the break was ‘Judgement’, taken from the unusual perspective of a court room artist and the wife of the accused, played beautifully by the very experienced and talented Janet Rawson and the engaging Poppy Josephine Lowles. The audience never saw the man in the dock but were given a clear understanding from the emotionally layered conversation and changing dynamics between these two women on stage. I loved this fresh approach to a court room drama; it was so convincingly performed.
After some well-earned applause and liquid refreshments, the audience settled down to devour the two final two of Roger’s offerings. Andrea Germanoff gave an emotionally mature performance in ‘The Allotment.’ Despite a few disruptions, she didn’t break concentration delivering a powerful performance full of light and shade, leading us through a complex plot. Finally a bittersweet dessert course titled ‘Material Things’ starring Katie Watson and Brendan McCarthy, which explored old relationships, unfinished business and… soft furnishings! An estranged couple’s initially awkward chance meeting in a furniture store made me believe second chances are possible.
This was my first venture into Southsea’s new intimate venue and it won’t be my last. We are indeed lucky to have it. The cast were all superb and it was a night of tasty cultural delights from our very own Roger Goldsmith.