Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Henley Drama Festival Review

THERE is a great tradition in British literature of taking the mickey out of the minutiae of ordinary everyday life.

THERE is a great tradition in British literature of taking the mickey out of the minutiae of ordinary everyday life. Jane Austen and Nancy Mitford were the connoisseurs, but this one-act play by David Tristram does a pretty good job, too. It’s witty, sharply-scripted, and brilliantly observed.

The premise is simple — four sad characters on the committee of the Little Grimley amateur dramatic society sit around a table at the village hall nitpicking and griping at one another because their club is doomed — or to use their own expression, “bollocksed”.

A rival group at Grimley Upon Neaton, two miles away, is staging a musical and it’s already sold out. Meanwhile, they face financial penury — villagers have launched a lawsuit for compensation after being psychologically damaged by their last panto. The only way they can survive is by employing violence or sabotage.

The characters in this little gem are brilliantly drawn and the Sinodun Players did an admirable job of bringing them to life. John Jones made a grumpy old cynic as Gordon, the committee chairman, while David Treadwell was a delightfully gruff and rough-round-the-edges Bernard.

There were moments in this play when the repartee was reminiscent of the banter in TV’s Yes Minister, and as far as pure comic value is concerned I laughed a whole lot more than at Almodóvar’s latest film and at a recent professional comedy in Oxford.

The Henley Drama Festival has been going for 42 years now and its aim is not only to give everyone a chance to get up on stage, but also to give us the audience a chance to see something different. With this play, it worked.

The festival continues at the Kenton until Saturday. Visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk for listings.

The Fat Lady Sings In Little Grimley

Kenton Theatre

Tuesday, May 7

Lesley Potter

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