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Leave It To The Maid | Drayton Arms Theatre

'All secrets have an expiry date’

You have been cordially invited to the Chroma family estate, where the young Mr and Mrs Chroma are about to have a dinner to celebrate their anniversary. But this is not just a simple dinner, as behind this hopeful couple’s facade, lies a whirlwind of sinister twists and secrets. Filled with what can only be described as unwanted guests, the dinner takes a dark turn as the Chroma maid is found murdered following a fateful power cut.

As you enter the theatre, you are instantly submerged with lavish sets, transporting you to the mid-20th Century where the story unfolds. The musical accompaniment during the interval and pre-set of the show aided greatly in this immersion, as it sets the tone for the piece with great subtlety. Furthermore, the staging of the show is done so that the audience is constantly immersed into the story, utilising the limited space fully, but most importantly, in such a way that it felt natural. The sets and props leave nothing to be desired as they perfectly support the ambiance of the piece, ranging from lavish candlesticks to a mid-20th Century gramophone. Diifficulties may be plentiful when dealing with such intricate set pieces, but the changes were quick with the staging distracting the audience effectively from the struggle of removing large pieces of furniture from the stage. Further praise is to be given to the costumes and hair stylist, who perfected those classic 20th Century curls and designed outfits which reflected each character’s personality with the utmost delicacy.

No detail of the staging was left unnoticed, whether that be the placement of the sets or the movements of every character. Everything had a clear purpose, which left me questioning every detail, perhaps even unnecessarily so. But it goes to show how even the tiniest detail can throw everything you think you know into question - and that is something that Kian O’Callaghan did superbly. Through the unfolding of events, there was not a single moment in the show where I knew who was responsible for the crime, nor was there a detail which felt unnecessary to the plot. Though there are obviously dangers associated with excessive plot lines or details, I have found that O’Callaghan’s writing introduces shocking twists with great finesse. Kian has said himself that mixing personal life with the professional life can oftentimes lead to unforeseen situations. However, I have found that this has greatly aided the cast’s chemistry and has made the play so much more enjoyable to watch, despite the rising tensions.

The cast was superbly talented, especially taking into account their young age, and should all look forward to a very bright future in the industry. I would, however, like to give a special mention to both Aaron King and Rosie Hunt who gave standout performances in their respective roles. Aaron played Cole, Amber (the maid’s) notorious ex-lover with a reputation for his violent outbursts, who has made it very clear to the audience that he would be willing to go to any lengths to make sure that Amber remains his. This was a very difficult position to be in as all blame may naturally float to him, but Aaron did a splendid job of showcasing some vulnerability through that rough exterior. His stage presence alone, whilst utterly terrifying, deserves to be wildly praised as all eyes would naturally follow his every movement in anticipation for his next interjection.

Another notable mention to Rosie’s portrayal of Rose Chroma, the lady of the house. Despite her constant fight for perfection in the eyes of her unfaithful husband and her overbearing mother-in-law, Rose is a gentle and vulnerable character. Much like her namesake, Rose is certainly not to be underestimated as looks may be deceiving. That being said, I have found Rosie to be simply exquisite as she manages to convey the subtle nuances of her character’s nature with class and delicacy, maintaining that gentle facade at all times.

Despite some brilliant performances delivered by the cast overall, I did feel like the second act lacked a certain follow through on the tensions previously introduced. Although the comical aspect of the sergeant’s character was greatly appreciated, though certainly not a fault in acting, I felt like it may have led to an unwelcome change in tone, which overall dampened the terrifying atmosphere that was so well built in the first act. That being said, the comedic aspect oftentimes darkened the tone further as it left the other characters feeling quite uneasy. Overall I have found this show to be a masterful telling of a whodunnit play full of unexpected twists. It was superbly written and delivered by a wildly talented cast, and I believe that they should all look forward to a bight future in the industry.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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