Dangerous Corner in St Albans has plenty of twists and turns

Dangerous Corner can be seen at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

Dangerous Corner can be seen at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

Madeleine Burton reviews Company of Ten’s production of Dangerous Corner in St Albans.

A Dangerous Corner with plenty of twists and turns is drawing in the audiences at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

The JB Priestley drama, the first of his so-called Time plays, is the Company of Ten’s second offering of the new season – and very good it is as well.

Getting to the heart of the characters comes second to the sensational plot, which could tip it into the realms of melodrama.

But director Tina Swain explains in her programme notes that she was keen for that not to happen and she largely succeeds, although occasionally, because of the way one drama succeeds another, it is unavoidable.

In fact, as you get swept along with what is happening, you do start to relate to the characters, some of who are more likeable than others.

Like the plays that followed Dangerous Corner, notably Time and the Conways and An Inspector Calls, Priestley is interested in the theory of forms of time.

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The opening scene is set in the drawing room of a country house where a group of women are listening to the shocking conclusion to a wireless play.

When they are joined by the menfolk, an apparently innocuous remark triggers a string of shocking revelations that tumble out one after the other.

But, says Priestley, how different it could have been.

The catalyst is the death of Martin Caplan, the brother of the country house owner Robert, and the relationship all the characters had with him and each other.

Russell Vincent is suitably pompous as Robert with Abbe Waghorn enigmatic as his glamorous wife Freda.

Joining them are apparent lovebirds Betty and Gordon Whitehouse, played by Apryl Kelly and Stuart Hurford, whose roles become markedly more dramatic and demanding as the play progresses.

Lianne Weidmann is impressive in the role of Olwen Peel and Andrew Baird is particularly good as Charles Stanton whose refusal to be intimidated by the others is a refreshing aspect to the play.

Completing the cast is Jacqui Golding who plays a cameo as elderly author Maud Mockridge.

Dangerous Corner is played out on a very authentic 1930s set – set design is something the Company of Ten invariably excels at.

That together with the period costumes and the skill of both the director and actors demonstrates that the Company of Ten has well and truly got new season wind in its sails.

Dangerous Corner runs until Saturday, October 20.

• Tickets are available from the box office on 01727 857861 or go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk