The first impression of the MET Theatre, which is part of the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, is that it is designed for an intimate audience. The production of "This Happy Breed" by Noel Coward, could have been written for this type of space although it almost certainly was not. Credit for this delightful production succeeding so well must go to the director, Denise Arthur. The scene changes, which were quite detailed, time consuming and performed by the actors, were a skilful way of indicating to the audience the passing of time and of moving the story into a different era. The cast were led with excellence by Andy Bill and Gill Broadbent as Frank Gibbon and his wife Ethel. There were moments in the play that brought out the warmth and the difficulties that close families must experience in two decades of togetherness. The fact that this family succeeded was a lot to do with Frank. His constant application of good sense in the twenty years between the world wars, although not always welcome, held the family together. His wife, Ethel, although a little more fragile, was solid and loving. It is hard to imagine there could have been a dry eye after the scene in which Ethel welcomes back her daughter from a absence that she believed disgraced the family. Frank's scenes with his neighbour, Bob, played by John Mills, were filled with humour and some pathos. There was a large cast with several characters that stood out. Particularly, Rachael Shaw, Dawn Huxley and Liz Mills. Altogether a very well balanced and delightful evening of live theatre. Consider me a fan of Stafford Players.
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