In the Frame by St George’s Community Players, at Morpeth URC.
Reviewed by Brian Bennett.
The St George’s Community Players in Morpeth should at the very least take an extra bow.
Whatever setback this amateur drama group experience ahead of a production – and it appears to be a regular rather than a rare occurrence – they have the happy knack of overcoming it to deliver a first-class performance.
In the past they have been hit by a series of mishaps in the weeks before curtain up including an occasion where one actor broke a leg whilst others have been forced to withdraw because of illness.
Last week the players yet again came to the fore after negotiating pre-play events to give a magnificent portrayal of In the Frame – a two-act comedy by local playwright Eileen Clark.
Beforehand, John Barker – cast as the vicar – had to stand down due to illness; Carmel Adamson, the nosy neighbour Edna, who usually entered the house of married couple, Joe and May, via the window, twisted her knee three days before dress rehearsal.
Then Sue Elliott, as May, lost her voice a little more than 24 hours before the opening night, but thankfully regained it.
However, Jared Johnson, in his 41st year with the group and chairman for over 15 years, could not speak highly enough of the actors.
He said: “Generally, we are beset with problems – but the players always come good and in our case, the old adage that the ‘show must go on’ could not be more appropriate.
“In the past, we have even had situations where due to illness, we have had understudies reading the parts to cope with adversity.
“The performances last week were difficult – but there is a good spirit amongst us.
“We welcomed four newcomers, who have said that the group are nice and friendly – and one of them, Scott Peel, who is a professional actor, actually volunteered to join us because he wanted to gain experience of being in a comedy play.”
Eileen Clark sat proudly at the back of the auditorium and watched the players execute her script to perfection.
As the play developed so the laughter intensified.
But the real fun and hilarity centred around Harry Adamson and Anne Marie Cairns as Mr Whimple the vicar and Miss Plim the librarian respectively, who devoured more than a sample glass of a unique recipe for the fruit punch, which left them both inebriated.
And what a night it was for the four debutants, who showed no nerves at all and who all played their parts to the full.
Grace Winpenny as Rosy, the daughter of Joe and May; Scott Peel as Stan, Edna’s son; Nicola Bache as TV personality Sonja Saint and Dave Wood as Perelli, Sonja’s ex husband.
The set design and build was by Robin Herron with Pete Ozers in charge of lighting and sound; Joann Evans was prompt and Joyce Carey the front of house organiser.
Props were the responsibility of Pamela Cassells and Margaret Johnson – the latter who hand made three matching ties for the hilarious scene when May (Sue Elliott) used a pair of scissors to cut a tie in half which Joe (Jared Johnson) had chosen to wear.
After the final curtain call on Saturday, there was no time for the group to bask in what was another success as it was all hands to the deck.
“It takes about four hours to dismantle the stage,” added Mr Johnson.
Meanwhile the players will tread the boards in March next year, when they perform Ray Lawrence’s two act farce It’s on, It’s off.
For more details about St George’s Community Players, be it performing or helping backstage, visit stgeorgesplayersmorpeth.org