Chase Me Up Farndale Avenue...

RICHARD BATSON Auden Theatre, Holt


> Auden Theatre, Holt

Taking the mickey out of your own art is a dangerous - but in this case, hilarious - game.

The Bridge Theatre's latest offering is a professional spoof on the “am dram” world.

The failings and foibles of the Farndale Avenue Townswomen's Guild drama society have been charted in many forms in the plays by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Junior. This time it is their attempt at French farce.

The worst of the amateur stage is exposed through the skill of an experienced professional cast.

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A plot as tangled as the cast members' knitting; dodgy accents; excruciating pregnant pauses; collapsing sets; missing props; players pressed into unsuitable roles - all nightmares in real life am dram, but a delight when parodied with affection.

Elizabeth Williams is magnificent as the bossy TG chairman combining multiple roles with interval recipes, while Judi Daykin smoulders as the put-upon Thelma, whose song faces being cut and husband is misbehaving in the lighting box.

Jan Poynton is delightfully deadpan as the reluctant Minnie, forced into a late male role and totally bewildered despite reading the script.

Chris Irvin is wonderfully wooden as the sole male sinking in a sea of warring women, and Amanda Howard overacts her way though “Fifi ze maid” - and her own husband.

A venture such as this is a bit like Les Dawson's piano playing - you need to very good to make doing it badly entertaining. This is a virtuoso performance, which runs until Saturday, July 30.

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