Stand by Your Man opened on Thursday 18th May to a sellout crowd … Making the upstairs room in the Pen and Wig a veritable hothouse full of people. I mean there were even a few people we had to turn away – Amazing for us, not so amazing for those we turned away!!
We did experience our fair share of nerves … However, we were worried about nothing as we had an audience that was basically packed in like sardines !!
Our Stand by Your Man family did us proud: Kiri Evans (Beth), Stuart Fouweather (Stu), Steven Lansdown (Steve), William Craig (Will), Josh Green (Dean) and last but by no means least Jane Morgan (Aunty Jane) !!! Amazing performances given by all… And only one timing error when Steve tried to walk off stage left when he should of gone to the bar. The “heavies” we’re ready to block and guide him to where he had to go (Juls and Myself). I do believe we got a laugh… 😂😂
The response was fantastic … The team were Superb … The tension that built in each scene was palpable and when it exploded to Frank Carter’s: I Hate You the room was shocked!!
Kiri and Stuart were brilliant as Beth and Stu. Kiri (Beth) really made you feel the pain and suffering while she pleaded with audience members for help. Even before Stu explodes into violence we can feel the nervous tension in their relationship and it really hits the audience hard … The desperation from Kiri (Beth) while Stu stalked behind her was nothing short of perfect!! The Girl should be in Hollywood!! Stuart will never get a good guy role again after this … His evil stare and silent brooding make him the ultimate villain.
Amidst this physically abusive relationship with have Dean and Will’s emotionally tumultuous and manipulative relationship. Here I have to give Josh Green his due as he came to us quite late in the rehearsals stage but he powered through amazingly. Throughout we are given a glimpse of an emotionally abusive relationship – Will is a cruel and manipulative abuser who uses Josh’s (Dean) insecurities against him. We are given the impression that Will has all the power in this couple so it is all the more shocking when Josh (Dean) flips and becomes the perpetrator of physical abuse… An amazing portrayal of an LGBT abusive relationship, highlighting a community that is usually overlooked. We have two amazing actors in these roles, they portray the introvert and extrovert really well, with a building of frustration that boils over so suddenly that we are all surprised.
As for Steve what can we really say?? The man is naturally funny, he need only walk into the room. As a result he is always our comic relief even in our most thought-provoking and tense performances. He plays the deluded drunk to a tee. Staggering about the scenes trying to convince himself that things in his past didn’t happen and his drinking everyday to try to forget. It is only when he confronted by the domestic abuse his daughter experienced that it all comes to a head … He attempts to stand up for Kiri (Beth) but he ends up back in the bar trying to equate his own actions with that of what happened to Beth.
Finally, we come to Aunt Jane, of whom I do not have photo. For me Jane is one of the most important characters in this play. Domestic Violence is a crime that has one of the highest revictimisation rates in the UK. Jane is the catalyst for this … She has lived alone believing that this is what men do, they don’t like something so they give you a tuning to keep you in line so she explains it away. She sends Kiri (Beth) back to Stu as she has been conditioned to expect it. Our Jane plays her role well and the lipsyncing at the end is the icing on the cake.
All of our fight scenes were choreographed by the very talented Benjamin Leonidas-Morgan and Volente Lloyd. They very kindly helped us to get the fights right, so that none of our actors were hurt during both rehearsals and the production. Thank-you very much for helping us retain our realism.
And a big thank-you to our very own Boardmember Joe for the sound and lighting … You cued the music at the right times and the right volume… Last but not least our fantastic director Julie Benson, a friend I’m glad I got back in touch with!!! Thank you for being amazing and for letting me help 💃
I can’t believe I’ve forgotten to add Lisa Floyd’s amazing set design … We couldn’t have done it without her and her perfectionism !! Julie and I probably would have thrown something togetber and it would have looked derelict haha!!! You made us look pro and I do hope your finger is now better – Thanks for all your artistic flair…