A Bunch of Amateurs

Date 25th May 2018
Society Bramrocks
Venue Margaret Mack Room, Rockland St Mary
Type of Production Play
Director David Middleton


Author: Sue Dupont

To direct from a distance at college, with holidays at premium for timings, David Middleton took on quite a challenge even with Elizabeth Ridley Thomas as assistant director (and also set design/painter along with Sandra Barker). Certainly Summer School and Chichester Theatre course showed and increased the talents previously displayed on stage.  What an excellent pace, which was required in this Ian Hislop and Nick Newman comedy which was full of laughs.

 Classic comedy setting of amateur group with problems of viability of performance space and group: well that says it all with no trouble in finding many comedy situations!  The Director of Stratford Players, Dorothy Nettle, played by Sandra Barker was a tour de force as she struggled to keep the group together, find bright ideas regarding funding, keep the peace throughout with the personalities, jolly all along, calm the ‘star’, and also play ‘the Fool’ in the production of King Lear, what a role to conquer with timing and shine with style and great personality throughout, definitely the lynch-pin of the evening.

Pompous solicitor and leading light in the players, Nigel Dewbury, played by Clive Gordon, knew his worth and definitely felt he should be the lead regardless, a well observed  character role and quite OTT at times which was admirable, again good timing bringing out the laughs.  Robert Coyle as Dennis Dobbins the handyman with his ideas of eye gouging as well as hall repairs, had some good lines to add to the chaos. 

To the ladies: Jaci Evans as Mary Plunkett the owner of local B&B, a fan of a certain film star, and a jolly friendly personable lady. Lauren Bell played by Alexandra Evans was the sponsor’s wife, a physiotherapist (which had hysterical moments), and pushing the play as marketing lady, a strong interaction with all in this personable role, again great timing. And bringing in the younger generation, Jessica Adby as Jessica Steel, the daughter not expected to appear, who wanted some revenge and to turn tables, but finished as a necessary addition, and the twist in tale finale

 And in role quite demanding as it jumped from sections of King Lear to his Hollywood personality, Ken Holbeck just stole the action: the programme description says ‘a fading Hollywood star, arrogant, insecure, brash, demanding, vulnerable, and ultimately aware of his absurdity’ and he kept to that brief in perfection.  The resolve to save society and play by bringing a star to play, as he thought, Lear at Stratford, was the answer to a dream for all!  The whole focus on this star and his reactions and interactions made for a hilarious situation on many levels, and certainly we were not failed by the actions on stage.

 Mentioned the set, must also comment on the many lighting and sound cues from William Middleton, and delighted that he is following his brother to Summer School (different course) and also winning a bursary.

  A really fun evening with Bramrocks with lots of laughter on a hot summer evening.