A full house responded magnificently to TheatreLambousa’s performance of three one act comedies on October 22, 23 and 24 at the Baron’s Theatre in the Chateau Lambousa Hotel in Lapta: “Too Long an Autumn”, “A Medieval Help Desk”, and “White Lies”
A fine type of humour was provided in “Too Long an Autumn”. “Long Autumn” is an appropriately named retirement home for theatricals in the autumn of their lives, where there is a firm belief that elderly equals senility. Maisie May, a former music hall star, with our Jan Marsh at her best, was thrust into the home by her straight laced and pompous son, well played by Ian Long, and repressed and humourless daughter-in-law, played by Anita Woods, who really has the feeling for twisted characters. Talented Chrys Ismail plays Maisie’s nursing home pal Dora. But Maisie isn’t prepared to have two feet in the grave, yet, and causes havoc in the Home with the Homes pretentious administrator, played by Val Wilce, we all know can handle anything from femme fatale to a pain stricken old lady. A rather “dubious” theatrical agent played by the well supporting Brian Thomas as the likeable “Del-boy” approaches Maisie and offers her a leading part in his revival of a musical, “The Matchgirl Princess”. The public warms to Maisie as she sets alight the stage in the provinces. And now, the West End?
Well not quite. On the verge of stardom again, Maisie collapses and dies.
The characters were well brought out and I liked the idea of scene changes by directing the light to the current scene while the scene just passed remained in the dark with the actors frozen in their last movement.
“A Medieval Help Desk”, a 10-minute-sketch, was extremely funny, almost Pythonesque in its send up of the IT help desks. So you thought IT was a recent innovation, well just how wrong can you be. Matt Turner putting his stamp on the role of the "Advisor", who resolves the problems, ably aided and abetted by Chrys Ismail as the helpful Herald, who explains that you are number three in a queue of 5, whilst ”Greensleeves” is played while you wait. Introducing three new faces, Mike Lines, Ian Long and Steve Sylvester playing the messengers who need help with issues such as arrows penetrating the walls of the Baron’s new castle.
The sage Matt identifies this as a “Windows” problem and recommends all windows be closed. I did say it was Pythonesque humour, and a range of current IT problems are cleverly embedded in medieval times.
The house shook with laughter. Very funny and the actors seemed to have as much fun with it as we did. TheatreLambousa got the timing just right.
The third and final play was “White Lies”; again a different style of comedy. A reunion dinner is arranged for four women: the imperious Bea (Sabena Coulter), Ruth, the mumsie graduate (Jan Marsh), Anita Woods, as Judith, the spinster writer, and Adele Thomas as Pam, the compassionate one and former jailbird; it is some 35 year after they graduated from Cambridge. In addition there was Diana Peek who you could see thoroughly enjoyed in her first acting role with TheatreLambousa as the tormented waitress.
As the evening progresses so we realise that the happenings at the university were not quite as they seemed at the time. Three of the girls now discover how their love lives were blighted by the fourth, Bea, who it seems graduated in human biology with honours in the practical side! Bea, who only married her husband as he was filthy rich is hedonistic and totally insensitive, despises her friends, bullies the waitress and thus the amusing bitchiness continues at a pace. So the downtrodden seek their revenge. Bea has a weakness for the Lottery and tonight is a roll-over worth £7m. Bea uses the same numbers each week, and as she tells the others, is confident she will win very soon. And the numbers do come up, courtesy of collusion between the “friends” and with the help of the waitress. Bea makes it clear she is not going to share her winnings with anyone and immediately phones her husband to renounce their marriage and tells him in no uncertain terms what she really thinks of him. At this point the waitress comes in with a big smile on her face to reveal the correct winning Lottery numbers, (and not as reported earlier) as Bea collapses, whilst the remaining three friends are smirking.
The play was well performed with excellent timing to ensure the conversation continued at a good pace, a particular challenge for amateur dramatic groups. It was a joy to watch them act and I heard the audience cut in with buuuhs and ooohhhs at the biting texts and gloat at the end when things were finally put to right again.
The plays were performed under the worthy directorship of Val Joyner with impressive support from Cath Crompton, as assistant director and stage manager, Hal Crompton on lights and David Triffitt as prompt. As always the Front of House staff were superb under the watchful eye of their manager, Andrew Cowley.
It’s good to see live entertainment is still popular in the North.
TheatreLambousa’s next production is planned to be “Allo, Allo”, based on the highly successful and ever popular TV series. Jan Marsh is to be the director and the show will be performed at the Baron’s Theatre, Chateau Lambousa, Lapta on March 18th, 19th and 20th.