October 1992 sees the Lane End Players stage this adaptation of the classic novel by Henry Fielding
This is Fielding's satire on "virtue in peril." A young virtuous male is being pursued and tries to keep his honor unsullied for the lovely maiden he wants to marry. Pure Joseph is besieged by high and low born females in 18th century England. There's also Parson Adams, a sort of plump Don Quixote of a clergyman, and Lady Booby, a lively widow trying her best to stoop to conquer her handsome footman. This farce provides a Hogarthian picture of earthy action and laughter. While relatively simple to stage, it is full of challenges for a wide range of acting skills.
Joseph Andrews - Paul Edgley
Parson Adams - Clive Lumbers
Lady Booby - Kath Gill
Fanny - Hilary Davis
Pamela - Charlotte Gill
Nephew - James Davis
Slipslop - Lou Jackson
Betty - Tish Marshall
Didapper - Dave Bowden
Mrs. Tow-Wouse - Georgie Brooks
Mrs. Trulliber - Sheila Keatinge
Mrs. Wilson - Margot Connor
Mrs. Andrews - Libby Beck
Justice Frollick - Charles Jackson
Constable - Steve Stott
Gypsy - Sheila Keatinge
Female Robber - Polly Hutchinson
Male Robber - Steve Stott
"Trimmed story fades away"
(Bucks Free Press review by Andrew Chatfield)
Condensing Henry Fielding's sprawling novel into an two-act play and then cramming the result onto a postage stamp stage is a recipe for what is usually called "losing something in translation".
Where author PM Clepper had failed them in the first step, Lane End Players did remarkably well with the staging, but the piece had very little of the glorious rompish quality of the original and the plot was thin.
There was, however, much to admire in the stunted story of the wide-eyed innocent Joseph, blessed by nature with good looks, which means he is lusted after by nymphomaniacs in all classes, and a deep virtue, which makes him resist their advances.
Director Eve Berry's stage design, using mobile, reversible flats was neat, although there were a few scene shifts too many.
Paul Edgley looked just right in the lead, but his delivery was disappointingly flat. Lane End stalwarts Kath Gill as the malicious Lady Booby and Lou Jackson as lady-in-waiting Slipslop, kept up the tempo and giggles. But even the climax scene, where vicar Parson Adams (Clive Lumbers) mistakenly leaps into everyone's bed by his own, was not quite right.
Fond memories of Lend Me a Tenor remind me this company can conjure far more hilarity from equally mediocre material.
Lane End Village Hall
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