EWHURST PLAYERS – Ewhurst Village Hall – 20th May 2016
Two plays: “The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley”
“What’s for Pudding?”
Two totally different, but wildly funny comedy plays were staged by this warm hearted and dedicated company. The first, “The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley” was absurdity played with a straight face, almost Gilbertian in the impossible scenario and plot and happily resolved in Gilbert’s unique Topsy Turvy style. The second, “What’s for Pudding”, had the advantage of being slightly more believable, a mixture of soap opera and farce.
The “Fat Lady” was a four hander featuring the phoenix-like Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic company and their pig-headed refusal to bow to the inevitable fact that the society has no talent, no audience, no money and no cast worth mentioning.
Gordon Mike Fanya
Margaret Pat Mortimore
Joyce Jeannie Metcalf
Bernard Ben Aveyard
Mike Fanya as Gordon was a magnificently bombastic and bullying society chairman, driven to distraction by the dim witted secretary, Joyce, beautifully played against type by Jeannie Metcalf. I really felt for Gordon, having been confronted by certain committee members in real life, not entirely dissimilar to poor Joyce! I really should add that all the players were acting against type as well! Unless, that is, Jeannie is planning to produce Seven Brides anytime soon, though I am certain Ewhurst Players have considerably more talent than Little Grimley.
Pat Mortimore as the self deluded Margaret, a Florence Foster Jenkins wannabee, also gave a bravara performance of this poor lady. Last but certainly not least was Ben Aveyard playing a convincingly hopeless stage director put upon to be an actor but arguing against his fate and much else besides.
The unlikely events of the sabotage against the rival amdram company GONADS, set up in opposition by Miriam, Gordon’s ex-wife were farcical to say the least and I felt the plot lost something of it’s humour in that part in consequence, though not the performances.
The evening ended triumphantly for the redeemed Gordon and his merry .band and despite my reservations about some of the unlikely antics I thoroughly enjoyed this play.
Director Wendy Davies had worked well to keep up the pace of the dialogue and the facial expressions and diction by all actors/ actresses were extremely effective.
The second half of the evening was taken up by What’s for Pudding, a five hander.
Mary Victoria House
Jack Ben Aveyard
Maureen Jo McInnes
Ted Felix Cuthbert
Dennis Mike Richardson
Mary and Jack have a marriage lacking magic with much back biting and sarcasm but their usual tedious evening is suddenly changed by the arrival of their friends Maureen and Ted. As the whisky bottle flows – it is a featured prop in this performance – and inhibitions fall away, we witness many of the frustrations of married life by both couples.
Wandering innocently into the mayhem comes Dennis , simply intent on ordering a pair of trousers from Mary’s catalogue. He is a fish out of water, harmless and boring but proceeds to stay while the whisky is offered to him, and is inexorably drawn into the mayhem.
This play is skilfully built by director Angela Richardson and the problems in Maureen and Ted’s marriage are cleverly played against the problems of their hosts own marriage.
This story has more depth and though anarchic stays within the bounds of possibility, in general. Skilful and well nuanced performances were given by five talented players with the lively Mary- Victoria House, and unstable Maureen – Jo McInnes, setting much of the agenda for the revelations which are at the heart of this story. Ted, as Felix, had some of the best lines and revelled in delivering them with wonderful comic timing.
There was a detailed set necessary in this play which was provided , for both plays by Chris Dews and Angela Richardson, in effective lay out; not least the vital drinks trolley and whiskey bottle.
Lighting was provided by Carl Osborne and Sound Effects by Bob Foley and both worked well.
As I have written previously , Ewhurst Players have a real depth of talent both with acting and directing and once again these two well chosen and even better cast plays, both compellingly and laugh out loud funny – and the almost full audience were kept busy laughing, as was I, – made for yet another of the wonderful evenings that have now become commonplace in Ewhurst Village Hall.