THEATRE LIFE REVIEW – A Bunch Of Amateurs

By Guest Reviewers Sue Rogers & Steve Rogers.

 

A play about a fading Hollywood Star taking part in an Amateur production of King Lear to save a local Theatre.

 

What a great choice of script. ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ is a terrific comedy packed with great comic dialogue and a plot of plenty of twists and turns including controversy, scandal, betrayal, and a visit to A&E, all while trying to rehearse for a production of King Lear! A very tall order to convey convincingly with So many lines to learn and such diverse characters to play by a small Cast but We were gripped from the first scene. There were no signs of first night nerves here.
Our Congratulations go to the whole team. We are always intrigued to see the inventive ways Chelmsford Theatre Workshop find to utilise their small space and this was no exception. This was a complex plot with many necessary Scene changes. The Set was very effective and fitted together like a jigsaw and it was evident that the Crew had worked hard to make the scene changes look so effortless and slick. The choices of music for the scene changes were clever, witty and worked very well.
Hats off to the Directors Rob Whitfield and Katherine Tokley for their excellent casting and Direction. Such attention to detail.  The Cast were strong and worked together so well.
Mark Sutton’s portrayal of the Hollywood Star, Jefferson Steel was convincing. He was appropriately brash and ego-centric at the start and showed a gradual mellowing as the Play progressed. His American accent was excellent.
Sylvia Lanz as Dorothy Nettle, the Director was the Glue that kept the play together and kept the pace. She was the perfect antidote and calming influence on all the other bold characters.  Her comic timing was exceptional and she was able to show many aspects to her character as the play progressed.
Charlotte Norburn as Jessica Steel, Jefferson’s daughter. Another fantastic American accent. Great Characterisations showing Teenage angst and great chemistry with her Dad and Dorothy but in entirely different ways.
Christine Davidson is delightful as Mary Plunket who is in awe of Jefferson and cannot help but fawn all over him in a rather ditsy but endearing way. Christine had excellent comic timing.
Martin Robinson played Nigel Newbury an outstanding ego-centric Lovey. His characterisation and comic timing was spot on and his diction was so clear.
Tom Tull’s portrayal of Denis Dobbins the Handyman come Thespian showed excellent characterisation and comic timing and with the witty script and clever props kept the laughs coming. It was great to see a completely different side to his character at the end when reciting Shakespeare.
Jacqui Newman as Lauren Bell the trophy wife of the Theatre Sponsor showed good versatility in the different characters she played. Both funny and believable.
Sue Tokley, Robin Winder, Rob Whitfield, Katherine Tokely as Journalists provided tension and atmosphere to the performance.
All the cast delivered quotes from King Lear in a very accomplished way showing great acting skill and direction. Another great dimension to each performance.
Congratulations to all involved. Thank you for a wonderful evening. If you love a laugh and Shakespeare, this is the play for you. Highly Recommended.

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