A Bunch of Amateurs
Review by Sally Proud
I always enjoy a good night at the theatre, and The People’s Theatre is one of the best in the region when it comes to putting on a good show. The commitment and dedication of all involved are apparent in abundance. On its opening night, I had the privilege of watching ‘A Bunch Of Amateurs’.
The play was adapted for the stage by Ian Hislop (Private Eye, Have I Got News For You) and Nick Newman (Spitting Image, Murder Most Horrid), this show is packed to the brim with razor sharp wit and moments of inscrutable uncomfortableness, as two extremes of the acting world collide.
The story follows fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steel as he lands in England to play the title role in King Lear. When the star arrives, it quickly becomes apparent that he is expecting to be performing in a prestigious production in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the Bard. Unfortunately and much to his disgust, he finds that he has been tricked by his devious agent and is in fact, starring with the local amateur dramatic society in the tiny Suffolk village of Stratford St John.
Kay Edmundson’s portrayal of the Director of the Stratford Players was the glue that held the play together. Her sweet manner masked her inner steel and determination. A fantastic performance that wouldn’t have been out of place in a professional production.
Jefferson Steel was adeptly played by Steve Parry. He brought a good amount of ego and arrogance to the stage, perfectly balanced with a vulnerability and his ultimate recognition of his own absurdity.
Roger Liddle’s performance as the pompous and stuck-up solicitor, Nigel Dewbury, was inspired. He hit his marks effortlessly, and his comedic timing was superb.
Tony Sehgal brought humour to the performance as the hapless handyman Denis Dobbins.
Special mentions go to Kate Lundy for her character of Lauren Bell - the sponsor's wife, Sophie Taylor for Jefferson’s long suffering daughter Jessica Steel, and Kirstie Corfield as B&B owner Mary Plunkett. All were superb and supported the story perfectly.
This play zipped along at pace, with tight direction, well designed sets and costumes and a cast that was perfectly suited to their roles. This production delivered on every front - laughs, poignancy and love. Capturing the real heart and spirit of what it takes to be involved in the world of amateur dramatics. Highly recommended.
Start Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: £15.00 Concessions: £13.00
Wednesday 11th May - Saturday 14th May