by Bernard Shaw
8-11 May 2002
Petkoff Ann Pond
Catherine Petkoff Jan Stevenson
Major Petkoff David Pile
Captain Bluntschli Martin Matthews
Major Saranoff Alex Compiani
Louka Lucy Harrold
Nicola Jeremy Austin
Russian Officer Chris Brown
Soldier Mark Ellen
Director Enid Davies
Designer Amanda Brown
Company Stage Manager
Lighting & Sound
Russell Parker / Tivoli Theatre
Theatre Stage Manager
Arms and the Man - Wimborne Drama, Tivoli Theatre
A CHORUS line of costumed, folk-dancing scene-changers was just one of
the amusing touches in this production, but it did add to my feeling that
everyone might burst into song at any moment - the operetta The Chocolate
Soldier is based on the play.
Shaw can be slightly heavy going at times, and although the story - far
too complex to relate here - had both comic and profound moments, all
well expressed, it took time to get into its stride.
Martin Matthews excelled as "chocolate cream soldier" Captain Bluntschli,
giving a convincing, well-balanced performance, and Ann Pond was suitably
dignified as his love interest, Raina Petkoff, although I found her a
little too mature to be entirely convincing.
Stealing many of the acting honours was Lucy Harrold, creating a real
little spitfire of a character as servant-girl Louka.
There were good characterisations too from Jan Stevenson (Catherine Petkoff),
David Pile (Paul Petkoff), Alex Compiani (Sergius Saranoff) and Jeremy
Full marks, too, for an ingenious set, although I was surprised to find
that the library of which the family was so proud contained so few books.
Used as fuel on that most convincing stove, no doubt.
Linda Kirkman, Daily Echo