The Killing of Sister George

Georgeanddoll

Julia Savill as controlling and manipulative actress June Buckridge who plays much-loved radio soap character Sister George

The Killing of Sister George: Lighthouse Studio, Poole (Wednesday 4th May, 2016)

The audience ratings are falling and once popular BBC radio soap, Applehurst, an everyday story of village life, is in need of a quick fix. Executives decide, as only executives can, that if they kill off their most popular character it will boost the ratings. Sounds familiar eh?

And sure enough before you can say ‘Nigel Pargetter’ sweet, loveable, reliable local nurse Sister George is dispatched beneath a speeding lorry. Only this play was first staged more than 50 years ago and June Buckridge, the actress who plays George, isn’t very loveable at all. She’s a foul-mouthed, gin-addled dragon in tweed who controls and abuses her much younger lover Alice.

Dramatic Productions’ revival of Frank Marcus’s groundbreaking comedy drama highlights the emotional turmoil that this odd couple face when the axe falls. It’s gruelling stuff with powerful screaming matches but it’s certainly not without humour. 

Julia Savill is excellent as the manipulative but vulnerable Buckridge facing the death of not only her character but her relationship and her career too. Amy Loughton is the submissive and needy Alice, desperately trying to resolve hidden issues while Celia Muir is super-smart BBC admin lady Mrs Mercy Croft who seems to offer sympathy and solutions. It soon emerges however that she has her own agenda.

With Judy Norman as clairvoyant neighbour Madame Xenia cranking up the laughs, this productio, directed by Tracy Jane Murre, gets the balance absolutely right as she probes the humour of  the characters but lays bare the emotional pain of abusive relationships.

Jeremy Miles

 

© Jeremy Miles 2017