Wokingham Theatre’s Moonlight and Magnolias

My blog is starting on a high! Last week Moonlight and Magnolias by Ron Hutchison was performed at the Wokingham Theatre.  This production deserves top praise.  I knew nothing about the play and was expecting a straight re-telling of Gone With the Wind.  In fact this drama is a superbly written one room piece about the re-writing of the famous film which takes place two weeks after shooting has begun!  David Selznick, the Producer and his Secretary trap Writer Ben Hecht and Director Victor Fleming in his office for 5 days with nothing to eat but bananas and peanuts.  Selnick will not let them leave until their rewrite is complete.  Ben Hecht has not read Margaret Mitchell’s book so  Producer and Director act out the various scenes for him as he writes, resulting in much banter, argument and even fights which gripped the audience as frustration, tiredness and the mess of paper, bananas skins and peanut shells grew!.  Performances from all four actors (Mark Hampshire, Steve Hall, Nicky Allpress and Alan Long) and direction from Rachel Pearson were of the highest level.  The set was breathtaking and all technical elements kept up the standard.  In short, I have to say that this was the best piece of amateur theatre I have ever seen!  My only small quibble is with the audience as my two teenagers were the only young people in the auditorium.  Surely we need to encourage our younger members of society in to watch such quality theatre!

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