Happy Acres

Date 26th October 2022
Society Compton Players
Venue Compton Village Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Eric Saxton
Written By H Connolly

Report

Author: Chris Horton

HAPPY Acres written by Compton Players’ member, H Connolly, is a play that follows the antics of visitors to a health farm called ‘Happy Acres”. But the ‘inmates’ are anything but happy.  The motley crew includes a male chauvinist, a nervous spinster, a fraudulent hypnotist, a sex starved girlfriend and a jealous wife.    

The set, the main room of ‘Happy Acres’ was decorated to represent a rather tatty and down and out property in need of funds.  There was good detail: sign for the gym, brochure rack with Happy Acres leaflets inserted.  The nicely painted garden outside was well lit and welcoming. The props were many: vases full of chips, boxes of booze, a guide dog on wheels to mention just a few.

The costumes were in line with the story and costumes changed, when necessary; for example, changing from their arrival clothes into their track suits. There was good attention to detail.   Madame O’s costumes were extensive and varied as she changed disguises while supposedly collecting for charities including Help the Aged, Salvation Army, Guide dogs for the Blind, and Lollipop lady.  There was also a fabulous clown costume for one of the inmates.  

There was great characterisation from all the cast who wove their way through the intricate plot with aplomb; There were some very funny (if a little dated) jokes such as when discussing running, “her nose runs that’s why she’s not allowed in the kitchen” and “her brain is like the mobile library, always in the next town when you need it”.     As well as the verbal action there was plenty of physical comedy, a collapsing sofa, an explosion and a vase full of chips being used to bring someone round who had fainted.  The hypnotist mixing up notes made for some very humorous set pieces, Lynne Buckland as Miss Batty arriving in full vamp mode was priceless and George Buckland’s arrival in skin tight leotard deserves a special mention.  There was a cracking pace throughout and this production was an excellent reminder that good fun and laughter doesn’t have to rely on smutty, cruel and offensive jokes.  All in all, well done to Compton Players for an evening of sheer fun.