A Chorus of Disapproval

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich


Thespians do have so much fun! Rehearsals are a great opportunity to meet people, and you can never be quite sure what will happen when reality and make-believe collide, especially when you're putting on a production of The Beggar's Opera.

With John Mangan as the real director and David Lambert acting that role onstage, with an authoritative display of weakness, Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus of Disapproval fairly bowls along. Gales of laughter are interrupted only for snatches of song and by closely observed episodes of helpless exasperation as teamwork gives way to personality clashes.

As the characters slog it out, Paul Winter keeps up the best tradition of the maestro at the piano, apparently half asleep but never really missing a cue.

A picture of gormlessness, David Reeves is the serial understudy, working his way up from a bit part to the lead.

Around him the cast is full of characters, given life by Noel Jones, Karenza Harrison and a dozen others who vie for attention.

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Another layer of entertainment is in the storyline. It reverses, twists and turns, never pausing and usually galloping along in a plot full of parallels. Not too confusing, though, and everything comes out in the wash.

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