Author: SPF Web

The Darling Buds of May

The Darling Buds of May  – Review

Take a reasonably well-known story, set 60 years ago in rural Kent, England, and people it with eccentric yokels, and you have the makings of an engaging comedy. The Larkin family apparently have a legitimate business, farming, but it brings in an amazing if undeclared income, thanks to the machinations of the adult members. Pop, played here by Dave Mortimer in a stand-out performance as a shifty yet open entrepreneur, is ably assisted by the equally amoral Ma, played delightfully by Annette Farr, but the story-line centres on eldest daughter Mariette, the lovely Isabella Wilkie, falling in love with the oh-so-earnest ‘Charley’ the tax investigator, played by Alec Muir. Their roles enliven the play, starting with mere flirtation on the part of Mariette, through a fight with a rival, Pauline Jackson (Molly Callaghan), a scheme to have a baby, then to set up house to make everything ‘perfick’. The main characters, ably assisted by the young Larkin siblings (April Manson, Trey Cosgrove, Maddison Frame, Ruby Ballantyne, Lucy Flynn), also have interactions with village identities, including Jon Harris as the brigadier, Shelley Casey as the amorous Miss Pilchester , Lizzie Dawson as Angela Snow, the Bluff-Gore couple (Jeff Mill, Angela O’Reilly) and Mark Richardson as the befuddled tax inspector.

Director Gail Tatham relies upon a minimal set, loads of miming, and excellent sound and lighting effects; the costuming of the 1950s is spot-on, the characters move and position themselves (especially the children), and all in all the TV show known to so many comes alive again in this very good production. Congratulations , then, to all involved in this sparkling comedy. It is a treat, well deserving of our support.

– Gordon Prowse

The Amorous Ambassador

The Amorous Ambassador, from the pen of playwright Michael Parker, has all the aspects of pure farce where the pace and the slap-stick-over-the-top situations, well rounded and possibly improbable, will give an audience a fun night out.
Smooth talking Harry Douglas – recently appointed American Ambassador to Britain is off for a golfing weekend in Scotland – or so he claims. Instead he returns for a fantasy time dressed as Tarzan and not alone. Unknown to him his daughter takes advantage of the empty house to invite her boyfriend, Joe, for the weekend. Add a bomb scare which brings in Captain South, Head of Embassy Security, a lock down, plus a secretary, obviously not chosen for her secretarial skills, and combine this with the hapless Joe, forced into female attire for most of the play, then for fun bring back the wife – a wife about to reveal all. All of the above is stoically observed by Perkins, a fine example of the best of the best of British butlers …….. or is he? As an added bonus, the doom that surrounds the characters makes the finale for this play one of the best the group has read in a long time. As with the last play – worth another look.

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