A Bunch of Amateurs by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. Directed by Peter Liddiard.

The above photo of the full cast, director and stage crew was taken by a member of the Theatre.

The latest production taking place at The Chesil Theatre is a far cry from a bumbling bunch of amateurs trying to save their ageing theatre. Somewhere in the Stratford which is in the hidden somewhere within the depths of Suffolk. Instead, the audience is treated to a night of funny and very entertaining theatre right here in Winchester.

Washed up Hollywood actor Jefferson Steel believes he has struck gold by being asked to perform in Stratford in the prestigious role of King Lear. Once he arrives the reality of where his agent has placed him is far from the luxury he is used to commanding. Noel Thorpe-Tracey’s posture and presence on stage as an ageing diva gives a very believable performance. Despite his overbearing demands, there is a certain empathy towards this man who has completely lost touch with reality. Portraying him as a caricature rather than a character.

The stronger characters in this play are the female roles. They are the Once again giving women positive role models on the stage. Katie Thornton’s debut at the Chesil Theatre as Dorothy Nettle is fantastic. She panders to all the men’s requirements throughout in such a way that she never loses her position as the Director of their play. I hope she returns for future performances as she is one to watch out for.

The stage dressing came in two sections. Between the ageing theatre stage with a working sprinkler and pots of paints. Moving around to the dining room of the antiquated bed and breakfast with some very dated pictures on interesting wallpaper. There were a few prop issues when switching between the two scenes with some scenery getting stuck. However, due to the comedic content of this play, I would not be surprised if this was all part of the act to engage the audience. It certainly raised some laughs within the auditorium.

Peter Liddiard directs this fantastic cast through quite a challenging play. The humour of Hislop and Newman has been captured in the cast’s delivery of some very funny one-liners the “pimp it motel” and “Nigelease” were two particular favourites. Listening to others around me laughing I was not alone in this opinion.

All the best with this run as it certainly deserves to play to sold-out performances.

Four stars.

This play is on from 25th January -2nd February 2019. I believe many performances are sold out check with the box office for details.

Chesil Theatre

Chesil Street

Winchester

SO23 OHU.

Twitter @ChesilTheatre

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