A Bunch of Amateurs

Date 26th July 2018
Society Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue Georgian Theatre, Richmond
Type of Production Play
Director Lynne Kerr,

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Author: Rhoda Fraser

This is a play about a group of amateur thespians trying to save ‘The Barn Theatre’ that they rehearse and perform in. They have one last stab at fundraising and decide that if they could find a well-known actor, willing to help, by playing the part of King Lear, their troubles may well be over.

Jefferson Steel is an actor looking to revive his flagging career, grasping the opportunity to play King Lear at Stratford in order to raise his profile, he arrives at rehearsals to find things are not quite as he had hoped! It is not Shakespeare’s birthplace at all and the company are a group of amateurs!!! However he is persuaded to stay and the play develops into a good evening’s entertainment.

Lynne Kerr, a long standing member of RADS, directed this production; in my eyes she has the perfect cast. She told me that she has an excellent back-stage crew too: 11 scene changes in the second act! Well done Suzy Brown (Stage Manager) and your crew. That is no mean feat! A special mention to Mike Walker, his original music and arrangements, recorded by some of the cast, added fun to the scene changes.

Mile Templeton, playing Jefferson Steel, the ‘real’ actor, was the key player in this production. He joined RADS for “Journey’s End”, so this is only his second time on stage. He continues to develop his acting skills and gave us a convincing portrayal of the ‘diva’ type actor; demanding five star treatment. The audience loved the mobility scooter as his ‘wheels to work’.

Garry Winn as Dennis Dobbins drove the scooter on set; a brave move knowing what a rake the stage has! Garry managed to move with such loose limbs and actions, doubled with such gormless facial expressions, that he was a comedy to watch, even before he added any script – wonderful!

Julie Winn, playing the starry-eyed Bed and Breakfast owner, Mary Plunkett, who always muddled films she had seen, thinks that Jefferson had taken the lead role, when, in fact, he had not. Julie gave us so many laughs that the audience were always in anticipation of the next one!

Warnock Kerr, cast as Nigel Dewsbury, the actor wanting to really play the lead, gave a confident and realistic performance; portraying a man who felt a little ‘miffed’ that some outsider had been brought in. Moreover this ‘has been’ actor doesn’t even learn his lines!

Kath Torbet, in the part of Dorothy Nettle, took on the difficult role of organising the cast and keeping them focused without losing her cool. She managed to portray this feisty woman very well.

Playing the part of Lauren Bell (backing the production), Beki Stephenson always managed to appear just as events were taking a turn for the worst. She gave us a lovely, bright and breezy portrayal of the young woman.
In the role of Jessica Steel, Jefferson’s daughter, was his real life daughter, Martha, who was appropriately cast and worked well.

All in all a lovely fun night’s entertainment and if asked if I know any characters like the ones on stage, I might say…maybe…let me think!