Review: Cocoa and Cuddles – Jane Lockyer Willis
I had the privilege of attending the premier production of Cocoa and Cuddles written by Jane Lockyer Willis and performed by the Tithe Farm Players in Rayners Lane on 7 July 2016.
The play starts with an encounter between Lorna and Frank, the latter having done nothing for three days to arrange his mother’s funeral apart from get the certificate. During this time, dead mother has been lying on the spare bed upstairs. The story develops as friends of mother Edith come to pay their respects and Frank contacts his sister Polly to take over the funeral arrangements.
Jane’s weaving of the interactions between the seven characters is gently witty and inisghtful, no doubt aided by the wonderful interpretation of the cast and director. Despite the obvious (and, in my opinion, unnecessary promptings by the prompt on four occasions during the performance), the actors made the dialogue ‘real’ – as the programme noted:
The play is multi-layered: the characters laugh, they cry as in everyday life and eventually triumph over adversity.
How they do that, I leave to you to find out…
I discovered Jane, or was it that Jane discovered me (?), through a local writing group connection. Having met over a cup of coffee, we decided to embark on a project to bring her short stories to publication and in addition to last night’s premier of Cocoa and Cuddles, Jane’s book of short stories Tea at the Opalaco and other stories was launched in a low-key fashion.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jane’s short stories enjoying the gentle twists and humanness of the tales. Despite this, I didn’t quite know what to expect with Cocoa and Cuddles given the description of the play. But I should have realised that the sensitivity and refined quirkiness which characterises Tea at the Opalaco and other stories would feature in Cocoa and Cuddles.
Jane is a lady of many talents (including cover design) and it’s a privilege to count her a partner in literature.
Congratulations, Jane on a play well written, and, performed by the Tithe Farm Players.