REVIEW: SS Farndale, Sheringham summer rep

SS Farndale summer rep drama, Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: ADRIAN JUDD

SS Farndale summer rep drama, Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: ADRIAN JUDD - Credit: Archant

We Found Love and an exquisite set of porcelain figurines Aboard the SS Farndale Avenue

Sheringham Little Theatre,

Summer Rep Company

There seems to be a theme at Sheringham Little Theatre this summer.

In this, the third of its offerings by the rep company, we have a play about an am-dram group putting on a play.

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This production follows on the heels of a 'post-modern' stage deconstruction of a play (Deathtrap) which itself followed a multi-role production with only three players (Teechers).

The theme of a play-within-a-play goes way back to Hamlet, of course, but SS Farndale is as far from Shakespeare as you can get – except where it's a comic observation of flawed humanity here portrayed by the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Dramatic Society.

Set on a shipboard cruise back in the swinging '20s, the romantic comedy attempted by the troupe is beset by misadventure, bickering, set malfunction and missed cues.

It's a shipwreck of a production.

Each professional actor plays the part of an am-dram player who also plays various roles aboard the SS Farndale.

The irrepressible Madeleine Brolly plays 'the-show-must-go-on' chairman Mrs Reece, with Loraine Metcalf as petulant prima donna Thelma and Sarah Langton who plays the bloodied-but-not-beaten underdog Felicity with suitable pathos.

The token male is nice-but-dim Gordon played with exquisite Baldrick-like flummery by Rupert Mason.

It's anarchic, implausible, chaotic, funny, surreal and unutterably silly - and a classic example of performers who know how to act well to pretend to act badly.

The play returns to the Little Theatre from August 26-31

Patrick Prekopp

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