A Bunch Of Amateurs

Date 3rd March 2022
Society Sudbury Dramatic Society
Venue The Quay Theatre Sudbury
Type of Production Play
Director Belinda Hasler


Author: Hazel Hole

The set, designed by Belinda Hasler,was a rather magnificent old barn which the Stratford St John Players used as both a rehearsal room and the local theatre and where all the action of the play takes place. The clever addition of chairs and a table provided the backdrop to Mary's B&B with thrones, built by Chris Wade creating the set for “King Lear”. A drop down panel gave the illusion of Jefferson's bedroom. Very clever design.

The script revolves around the Stratford St John Players plans to present “King Lear” and the apparent lack of interest from the small local community. In an attempt to rouse more interest, the group decide to invite a “famous” American actor, Jefferson Steel, to play the title role. There was a great deal of subtle and not so subtle comedy throughout.

Malcolm Hollister, as Jefferson Steel, was magnificent in the role. He had a commanding stage presence, arrogant and swaggering and maintained a true American accent throughout. In short, he looked and played the part very convincingly. He did, however, display a more tender side with a reconciliation with his daughter.

Lilli Hender, as his daughter Jessica, initially had no patience with the many failings of her father and made this clear in her truculent manner and attitude but this changed with the reconciliation.

I loved the character of Nigel Dewbury, played with great aplomb by Richard Fawcett. He was a thoroughly pompous, but subservient solicitor, very resentful of the fact that Jefferson had been parachuted into the title role which he himself craved. Richard looked the part and interpreted the role brilliantly and his timing of the comedy lines, coupled with his wry facial expressions was superb.

Helen Arbon, as Dorothy Nettle, was a somewhat bossy, autocratic Director of “King Lear”. She displayed a no nonsense manner in her determination to progress with the production.

Helen played this role very convincingly but also showed a tender and caring side eventually.

Gemma Cooper, as Mary Plunkett, had a great role as the owner of the local B&B, trying hard to meet the needs of her guest, Jefferson. She also had a “crush” on Jefferson having seen him in films but often citing the wrong films! Gemma had some great facial expressions and she acted this part in a nervous, agitated manner very successfully.

Joseph James, as Denis Dobbins, the local village handyman, had a fun part here as the Company Health and Safety Officer. The audience loved him acting as the chauffeur of a limousine but in fact driving a mobility scooter ! There was a great scene involving improvised eyeballs, lollipops and other ways of showing eyes gouged out which was hilarious! I enjoyed Joseph's local accent which he maintained throughout.

Jessica Bellamy, as Lauren Bell, a physiotherapist, had a great scene with Jefferson and took a wider role in the cast.

There was an off stage chorus of journalists and reporters, with cast members and backstage crew adding a clamour from Jefferson's “fans” where appropriate.

Lighting, sound and costumes were all very appropriate, There were two specific sound effects ie an ambulance siren and a gun shot which were both very realistic. Well done to

Stage Manager, Heather Neville for ensuring that props and scene changes were as timely as possible.

Finally, many congratulations to Director, Belinda Hasler, for producing this comedy which was much enjoyed by the audience as evidenced by their laughter.. I enjoyed it immensely.