Festive One Act Plays

Date 9th December 2022
Society Egerton Players
Venue Egerton Millennium Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Vanessa Perrin, Alison Robinson, Carin Kennett

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

Three experienced Directors plus a dedicated SM and team of co-helpers back and front of house, a cast of fifteen and a link narrator - these festive comedies were a treat.

Good Lazy Bee scripts were chosen, and the first play was ‘I Don’t Think I’ll Be Here Next Christmas’ written by Dawn Cairns. Directed by Vanessa Perrin. A single setting of a well-designed living room where cantankerous pensioner Jean Hope always spends Christmas with her son John, and his wife Sheila who have a mutual dislike for each other which plays out with barbed comments and in presents exchanged with each other. One example is the cookery book given entitled ‘Basic Cookery’ by Delia Smith! Jean wants a traditional Christmas pudding with sixpenny pieces. She inserts these and Sheila has the misfortune to chew on it causing her much pain and when her just in case Deep Heat is inadvertently placed in the bathroom cabinet is used by mistake by John, he pays the price resting his derriere on an inflated rubber ring and when frozen peas are suggested as a help they melt! Jean eventually escapes the boredom and cleverly manages to wangle an invitation from granddaughter Laura only heard over a telephone to be picked up in the car and taken out for a Boxing Day meal. She vows never to spend another Christmas at John and Sheila’s  The three cast members played the roles most convincingly.

Alison Robinson took on the next three Ten Minute plays. The first ‘Panto Question Time’ by Sue Gordon had a question master introducing Cinderella’s Stepmother, Mrs Alice Whittington, The Giant’s Wife, and Jack’s mother and questions were fired from planted members in the Audience. The nearest we got to an actual pantomime and almost coming to blows. Dame costumes, wigs  and make up were, wonderful, way out and the short piece was well executed and very funny too.

Next came ‘After the Matinee’ by Damian Trasler. This was a more reflective piece but full of gentle humour when in between the matinee and an evening performance of a panto an old stager explains amdram to an enthusiastic Buttons. Ideally cast with established actor Mac Mercer opposite Ben Humphries the Players youngest member playing Buttons.

The third of the Ten Minute plays was ‘All this Time’ by Jack Hutchinson. This tells of two amdram divas who have auditioned for the same role in the next panto production and are awaiting the director’s decision. Seated on opposite chairs they eye each other and snipe and argue with each other over past glories. A decision is made they both are cast – as Daisy the Cow but who has the best Moo to be the front! Very well played out by the two performers – a scenario with which one could easily identify?

The final offering was ‘An Almost Correct Christmas’ by James O’Sullivan with Carin Kennett directing. I think most of the cast were included in this play, but I wasn’t always sure who was who with the brilliant costumes and beards provided. Remaining faithful to the Gospel this was a light-hearted comedy and certainly a winner for me. Mary heavily pregnant and Joseph with his suitcase arrive at a very noisy inn and are told there is no room but the stable is available. Four wise men entered from the back of the hall sumptuously dressed carrying their gifts, all but one that is and he shared the gold with a repetitive ‘are we there yet.’ There was incense and of course Myrrrrrrh, with a whinge that was the same as incense after a consultation of the dictionary that just happened to be available. The shepherds and their amazing sheep were winners too. Clever costuming. How they kept straight faces I do not know. The icing on the cake was the Angel that gave us the glad tidings and at one point appeared chewing upon a lamb chop with a sheep appearing on crutches. Hilarious

The evening was linked by the Narrator mainly in rhyme. Well-staged with Alan Arthur behind the scenes assisted by Dave Austen, Ellen Gardiner, and Ed Lawton. The 15 competent actors did a sterling job and rehearsals must have been a hoot. Thank you  Egerton for an evening full of laughter.