2 October 2010

The Thunderbolt at the Orange Tree Theatre

Autumn brings many joys including the start of a new season at the Orange Tree Theatre.

Opening up is The Thunderbolt a comedy of errors from a century ago, an era that we often look back at in amusement forgetting that as we do so we are ignoring the same biases, prejudices and attitudes that persist today.

The play follows the manoeuvrings of the family of a recently deceased wealthy brewer as they battle for his inheritance. Adding to the complexity of the situation is an illegitimate daughter and a missing will.

Into this mix are added two solicitors who act as impartial observers and also as the rails that the story runs along.

One of these solicitors is played by Orange Tree regular, David Antrobus, pictured in the centre here, who is proving to be a rather fine actor.

The other notable performance was from the other solicitor but I do not know that actor's name as I never buy a programme and their website does not provide the information.

Go yourself and buy your own programme to find out!

The drama comes from the scheming and dreaming of the family that is running smoothly until The Thunderbolt strikes.

The atmosphere of the play then changes from gently amusement to tense emotion as the impact of the thunderbolt becomes clear. The situation then threatens everybody and the rest of the play is spent trying to resolve the situation. Again, go yourself to find out how.

This a subtle and unsurprising play that bubbles along smoothly and then spikes in the middle. It an accomplished play that uses dialogue skilfully to explain the characters and their actions, most of which are revealed as they sit around, there is not much physical action here.

Overall it comes across as a well-written and well-delivered play that satisfies rather than delights. But satisfies is plenty good enough to justify a night out and to justify going back again next month.


  1. Um, easy solution to finding out the admired, but unknown actor's name...ring the (very friendly) theatre and ask.

    Oh, and it's Vincent Brimble...which is not me, I hasten to add!

    1. I am pleased to see that the Orange Tree Theatre website now carries details of the cast and shows which other Orange Tree productions they have appeared in.


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