Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Hurricanes blow in to help out

WHEN the script of Sinodun Players’ forthcoming production called for a ‘local band’ to provide music

WHEN the script of Sinodun Players’ forthcoming production called for a ‘local band’ to provide music for a party scene the Crossfire Hurricanes were only too happy to step in.

The classic rock combo, who have a formidable reputation around Henley and Wallingford, jumped in and recorded a set of Rolling Stones numbers for Alan Ayckbourn’s dark comedy Life of Riley.

The show will heavily involve Hurricanes frontman Mike Rowbottom, whose voice and guitar will not only fill the Corn Exchange in Wallingford, but he will also be on stage as one of the cast.

He says: “My part is in complete contrast to what I do with the Crossfire Hurricanes. I’m an in-your-face frontman with the band, always chatting up the audience, joking with them and doing what we do best, having fun. My role in the play is a different species; it’s someone who’s quiet, inexperienced with women and life in general and has a childlike emotional make-up.”

The play revolves around fun-loving schoolteacher George Riley who learns he has only months to live, so his friends – three couples – plan to make his last days as happy as possible. But despite their best efforts, carefree George manages to cause chaos, prompting each couple to question their own relationship.

George, meanwhile, is enjoying all the attention and is living the life of Riley.

As ever, Ayckbourn uses laughter and wit as he dissects the complacency and angst of the middle classes.

Pete Smithson plays self-made cocky businessman Jack, trying to keep his philandering from ‘Essex girl’ wife Tamsin (Rebecca Cleverley). Mark Wilkin is inept GP Colin whose wife Kathryn (Amanda Potter) is turning to drink. Marilyn Johnstone plays George’s estranged wife Monica, guilt ridden having left him for widower Mike Rowbottom’s taciturn farmer Simeon.

The titular character is never actually seen but his ‘hippie Peter Pan’ persona dominates the play as his actions have far-reaching consequences.

Director Graham Fyffe says: “On the face of it, this might seem a deadly serious play but, being Ayckbourn, there are many amusing situations and some very funny lines.”

Performances take place from April 15 to 18 at 7.45pm. Tickets are £10 from the box office on (01491) 825000 or www.corn

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