Ten Times Table

Gresham's School Auden Theatre, Holt

A drooping Union Jack hangs over the meeting place of the Pendon Committee members, symbolic of their comically botched attempt at staging a popular pageant.

This spurious historical account of The Massacre of the Pendon Twelve brings together a disparate group of locals as they plan to dramatise the bloody clash between proletariat and ruling class.

For anyone who has ever had the mixed fortune to serve on a local committee, you'll laugh (and perhaps inwardly cringe) at the characters here portrayed, warts and all.

There is a pedantic bureaucratic bore, a hectoring lefty, a right-wing snob with a wickedly barbed tongue, a sad sentimental drunk, a hard of hearing, octogenarian minute-taker, a gullible young woman looking for love and a cause, and a genial chairman who becomes more and more exasperated as he tries to calm increasingly troubled waters.

The committee splits and divides into opposing factions and it looks as if history may repeat itself in this sleepy market town of middle England.

This is not one of Ayckbourn's best plays, but his trenchant observations of people's vanities and frailties shine through, with fine character performances from the Bridge Theatre cast, directed here by Freda Kelsall.

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t Ten Times Table runs until Saturday July 24.

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