Eve Berry directs this "uproarious in the best tradition of farce"
Zany, madcap events transpire at the Reverend Lionel Toop’s vicarage in Merton-cum-Middlewick. The plot revolves around Lionel’s wife, Penelope, who dabbles in a football pool with the help of their maid, Ida, and Ida’s suitor, the droll Willie Briggs. The most fantastic complications ensue when the triumvirate wins, or when they think they have won, more than 20,000 English pounds. Lending richly comic hands are the old maid parishioner, Miss Skillon, and Penelope’s out-of-this-world uncle, The Bishop of Lax. What happens when these assorted characters all get together on one stage has to be seen to be believed.
Penelope Toop - Kath Gill
Ida - Sheila Keatinge
The Rev. Lionel Toop - Scott Yarrow
Miss Skillon - Helen Clark
Willie Briggs - Vic Berry
The Rev. Arthur Humphrey - Paul Brown
The Bishop of Lax - Clive Lumbers
"Players comes over larger than life"
(Bucks Free Press review by unknown)
The essential feature of a good farce is that it should be at least slightly larger than life, and much depends on the balance provided by the producers as well as its pace and timing.
In last week's performance of Philip King's Pools Paradise by the Lane End Players, Eve Berry's production aided by excellent casting provided capacity audiences on three nights with just the right balance of all three ingredients so that the story stayed on the brink of belief, from the straight-laced anti-gambling Reverend Troop with his worldly ex-actress wife; the infatuated "I'll do good if it kills me" parishioner Miss Skillen to the simple vicarage help, Ida.
No matter than in the middle of the play the lights went off with a bang (but were gradually and discreetly restored) or that the missing pools coupon prematurely disclosed itself during a viperous settee romp; in spite of these mishaps the pace and timing were splendidly sustained and the audience always knew that they were in for a good evening's entertainment.
Kath Gill as the vicar's wife excelled in her obvious relish at putting once over on her stick-in-the-mud husband, and has that elusive quality among amateurs of being able to supplement and excellent voice with facial expression that can turn an innocent sounding line into wicked innuendo.
Scott Yarrow tended to be rather too stiff at times and to parade rather than amble., but made up for this with perfect timing and disappearances and reappearances in the cupboard scene.
Sheila Keatinge's Ida and Vic Berry's Willie Briggs were delightfully rustic; difficult for Willie with so little to say but to convey. Helen Clark's portrayal of Miss Skellen was a masterpiece reminiscent of Flora Robson in her less serious moments.
Paul Brown as the lugubrious locum vicar and Clive Lumbers as the rather subdued bishop completed the cast of an outstanding production and a satisfying entertainment.
Preparations are now in had for the next production which is the January pantomime, Aladdin.
Lane End Village Hall
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