There Goes the Bride

Date 15th May 2024
Society Kingsley Players
Venue Kingsley Community Centre
Type of Production Farce
Director Malcolm Barker
Lighting & Sound Mike Vickers & Kenton Barker
Stage Management Kingsley Players Crew
Producer Jo Oultram
Written By Ray Cooney & John Chapman

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

There Goes the Bride

Kingsley Players

Kingsley Community Centre is the venue for the Kingsley Players production of ‘There Goes the Bride’ a farce written by Ray Cooney and John Chapman. On researching this production, it was fascinating to discover that Ray Cooney OBE, along with Whitehall’s Brian Rix ruled the farce industry in the UK for around three decades. Their style and intricacies of the scripts were unique, becoming a favourite for British comedy audiences.

 The set, the drawing room of the Westerby family home on the morning of their daughter’s wedding to Nicholas the son of an Australian entrepreneur and billionaire, Charles Babcock (Ian Lancaster). The set is classically dressed it has a simple layout providing the perfect landscape for the fast, furious hilarity to come.

At the beginning of the play we meet Ursula Westerby, (Lesley Silcock) the mother of the bride, who is anxiously awaiting the arrival on her husband Timothy Westerby (Simon Heatherington) while trying to locate the missing flowers, buttonholes and dealing with caterers. Ursula has the additional stress of dealing with her emotionally charged daughter Judy Westbury (Lisa Buckley)

Adding to the chaos are Dr Gerald Drummond (Murray Milligan) and Daphne Drummond (Valerie Ball) the brides doting grandparents. Murray has great line delivery and timing, as the dotty forgetful grandfather, whose constant misunderstanding of every situation added to the mayhem of confusions and misunderstandings. Valérie was the more stoic and acerbic of the two, but equally as hilarious; all I have to mention are mismatched socks and ill-fitting girdle!!  What a great double act they were. The other house guest is Timothy's business partner, Bill Shorter (Neil Silcock) who undoubtably won over the audience with his splendid animated facial expressions, loving his bewilderment at the ludicrous events unfolding before him and his ability to adapt very quickly to the intendable predicament.

Timothy finally arrives carrying a life-size ‘A’ board figure based on the 1920s icon of the flapper, for the ad campaign he is working on for a prestigious bra company. As they are all about to leave for the church, Timothy has a bump on the head, and on coming around, finds himself accompanied by the imaginary stunning 1920s Flapper girl, Polly Perkins (Jen Deakin) from his campaign. The only problem is no one else can see her and Timothy becomes increasingly infatuated with her. Simon has the bulk of dialogue in this play which can be challenging for an actor but he coped well, his excitable, nervous and “on the edge” character was a joy to watch.  Simon and Jen gave a formidable ‘Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ performance, well done. In true farce style a second bump on the head transports Timothy back to 1926 and the Savoy Hotel, the wedding preparations disintegrate into chaos once again, as family attempt to head Timothy back to reality.

Finally, we met the somewhat short fused Australian father of the bridegroom to be, Charles Babcock (Ian Lancaster) looking every inch from 'Oz' his increasingly dazed confusion was very funny.  Ian's interaction with Simon was hystrical well done chaps.,His son, Nicholas, was referred to, but never seen.

What is farce? Exaggerated situations, inuendo, gentle comedy, stereotypical characters, improbability and physical horseplay, we had this in spades. Experienced direction by Malcolm Barker who knew what this script required, and what a grand job he did. We now know Kingsley Players first performed this comedy in 1983 when the current director, Malcolm Barker, was in the cast. Now, 41 years later, it marks his 120th play and his 34th in the director role. Congratulations, Malcolm.

Praise must go to the crew, lighting and sound, Mike Vickers and Kenton Barker, props Jane Woodhams plus a special well done to wardrobe Joan Barker for simply perfect costumes.

The entire Kingsley Players cast did an excellent job tonight. The script is packed full of innuendo, comedy, really funny one liner’s and of course, a huge amount of farce. All I can say ‘no wonder the bride and groom eloped to the registry office’.

Thank you for my invitation and the warm welcome I received. It was a lovely evening of entertainment; it was a blast.

Joanne Rymer

NODA

District 4