Separate Tables - April 2024

Cast Photos

Dress Rehearsal Photos from our last production, Separate Tables, April 2024

"Excellent Production as always, enjoyed it very much"


"A triumph! Well acted"


"Wonderful performance ❤️"


"You all did very well. An all star cast must have been working hard"

Separate Tables

DATE 26th April 2024
SOCIETY Hoghton Players
VENUE Hoghton Village Hall
DIRECTOR Anne-Marie Flood
WRITTEN BY Terence Rattigan


Author: Dawn-Marie Woodcock

It was a pleasure to be invited to review The Hoghton Players’ production of Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan. Set in the 1950’s and based in The Beauregard Hotel in Bournemouth, the audience were introduced to a variety of the hotel’s occupants. Act 1 was set two years prior to Act 2, thus creating two separate plays.

Director Anne-Marie Flood created a slick production. The cast performed in the round; the audience seated in a large rectangle two rows deep surrounding them. The setting was a dining room, which consisted of six small tables evenly spaced around a slightly larger central table. A sofa set to one end of the round represented a lounge area. Anne-Marie had considered her audience and placed her actors accordingly, the cast were visible from all angles. When seated, they would shift position allowing a different view, never staying with their backs towards specific areas of the audience for too long.

The cast used two exits that cut diagonally through the audience. We were informed via the script that the main exit led to the hotel lobby whilst the lesser one led to an outdoor terrace. Both were used throughout the production.

Stage Manager Kath Fleet and Assistant Stage Manager Marilyn van Eysden created an atmospheric set. The placement of the tables reinforcing the solitude of the characters within. The props and furniture were sourced by Jonathan Mallinson, Millie Santus and the society members, the attention to detail was excellent. I particularly liked the hotel staff updating the table decorations, indicating the passage of time. The newspaper looked fabulous, amongst other things, it held the story being read out by the actors. With the audience sat so close to the actors, the props team had worked hard to be authentic. Costumes, hair and make-up, by Millie Santus and the cast, added to the overall feel of the 1950’s. Costumes were vibrant and in keeping with the era, the difference in style between each character reinforcing the notion that these were all insular people.

I thought the sound was excellent, boom microphones were placed behind the audience picking up the dialogue, the acoustics in the hall were particularly good, every actor could be heard clearly. The lights illuminated the round well, the costume colours looked vibrant, the audience could see every detail. Paul Santus, Keith Whittle, Andrew Freeman and Steven Boult created ambience with their sound and lighting, there were no sound drop-outs or lighting faults that I could detect.

Miss Pat Cooper, the hotel manager, was played by Bernadette Nuttall. Bernadette was confident, with clear diction. Her character was elegant and poised, with a good understanding of people, giving sage advice and mending broken hearts. Bernadette played this calm, empathic woman with ease.

Playing the role of disgraced politician and washed-up journalist, Mr John Malcom, was Peter Emblin. Peter had vast amounts of dialogue that he delivered with passion and feeling. His character was complex, conveying many emotions, his drunk delivery played with realism. A touching performance well executed.

Rana Shihadah played Mrs Anne Shankland, a former model and ex-wife of John Malcom. Rana looked resplendent in her sparkly costume and perfect chignon bun. She played her character as flirtatious, bitter, and resentful, but also vulnerable and insecure, a great display of emotions from Rana.

Jenny Ashcroft made the audience laugh as she made her way into the dining room as the server Mabel. Her facial expressions and grumpy demeanour were excellent. Her walk onto the set deliberately slow and begrudging, an understated yet very funny performance.

Lady Matheson was played by Nicola Hindley. Nicola was great in this role, her body language and actions giving gravitas to her character, She was demure, subservient to Mrs Railton- Bell, finally finding her own voice by the end of the production. With a few well timed comic moments, Nicola gave a rounded performance.

Siobhan Edge played Mrs Railton-Bell. This was a wonderfully comedic performance. As the overbearing self-appointed moral representative for the other guests in the hotel, Siobhan was jolly funny.  Her facial expressions were hilarious and put me in mind of the fabulous Patricia Routledge.

A strong performance with clear diction and great timing.

Mr Charles Stratton was played by Nicholas Peat. He began the play courting his young lady, Miss Jean Tanner, and by act 2 he and Jean are married and have a new baby. I thought Nicholas very funny as he gritted his teeth and tried to get some peace. Nicholas was an impressive character actor. His mannerisms and expressions encompassing his role, he was strong, confident and clear with perfectly timed retorts.

Aimee Gallagher was great as Miss Jean Tanner (later Mrs Stratton). Aimee had clear diction and great projection. The only female character to wear trousers, it was deemed unseemly, emphasising her strong personality. We witnessed her character changing as motherhood took precedent. A well thought out performance from Aimee.

Miss Meacham, the no nonsense racing obsessed spinster was played by Shaz Holstead.

In her tweed suit and sensible shoes, she had some very witty dialogue. Her accent added to the humorous character she portrayed, she had no time for people, devoted to her little racing notebook at all times. Wonderfully comic.

Jeff Moxham played Major Pollock. Carrying dark secrets, which are exposed to the other guests, The audience sympathised with his plight of trying to fit in. Jeff was excellent in the role, his accent was great, his delivery confident.

Miss Sibyl Railton-Bell was played by Alison Griffiths-Barnes. Sibyl was the downtrodden daughter of Miss Railton-Bell. Alison shone in this role, her nervous actions and slightly shaky voice made for a convincing performance.

Aneta Paruk played Doreen, a server at the hotel. Anita portrayed her character with sass and well-timed wit, I was impressed with her ability to carry the trays laden with crockery, they didn’t clatter at all.

Mr Fowler was played by David Quick. David character was an ex-schoolteacher. Always waiting for a student to visit him, he had philosophical advice for every situation. A lovely performance from David.

Separate Tables was sold out. Playing to a full house in proximity to the audience, did not faze these actors one bit. They remained steadfast to their characters and produced a wonderful show. I would like to thank The Hoghton Players for inviting me to review their production and look forward to many more.

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