The Course Acting Show

Date 5th July 2014
Society Cast and Crew Theatre Workshop
Venue Cornelius Vermuyden School, Canvey Island
Type of Production Play with music
Director Alan Foster & Andy Shore


Author: Tessa Davies

Once again, Cast & Crew have stretched the boundaries and produced something different.  This can be risky, especially if the concept is not familiar to the audience.  In this case it was four short plays, almost skits, which parodied the genre.  Consisting of a murder mystery, operatic tragedy, grim reality and Shakespeare; each skit was full of bad acting, wobbly scenery, doors that wouldn’t work, costumes that went wrong, the list is endless, but all deliberate.

It’s not easy making all these errors when the cast would normally be very careful to get it right!  I am not sure how much of the action was due to the script or if extra had been put in during the rehearsal process.  Having directed similar plays, I am very conscious that there is a temptation to put in stuff that happened in rehearsal in addition to what is written.  The difficulty arises when the action is so full of these extras that the play loses its sense and simply ends in confusion for the audience.  Although this did not happen with this show, it was a close call and there was, sometimes, just too much to take in.

Although the cast were listed in the programme, none were identified with the parts that they played.  So descriptions will have to suffice.  Firstly the “Director” introduced himself with a suitably outrageous name (Tarquin something or other).  He was to be the link between each skit, getting progressively drunk as the show progressed.  This was an excellent performance, well timed, well portrayed and without any unnecessary histrionics which was in complete contrast to the actors on stage!

The other members of the cast that I would single out are the lady playing the male part in the first piece (Streuth) the lady playing the male part in the Shakespeare piece and the lady doubling up the parts, with hilarious results and a mandolin strapped to her hand, in the Shakespeare piece.  I haven’t mentioned names because I don’t know all of them!  All the other members of the cast played their parts well.

Of course, the whole point of this show is that the actors were over the top, the scenery on the point of collapse, or simply not working as it should.  In that respect, everything seemed to go according to plan!   I particularly liked the subtleness of the exchange of trees!  Most of the rest of the show was not quite so subtle!

Everyone worked very hard and the costumes looked good.  It’s just a shame that the audiences weren’t larger.  Well done to Cast & Crew for tackling this very difficult show