Review: Aldermaston Players present A Laughing MatterBy Hugh Terry
July 16, 2012
A Laughing Matter by April de Angelis
Aldermaston Players, Meadow Brook Farm, Aldermaston.
Friday, July 13
The show must go on. If ever an old cliché summed up a bravura performance in hostile conditions, this was it.
As the curtain went up on the Aldermaston Players' open-air production in a field at Meadow Brook, the heavens opened and we were treated to a prolonged cloud burst.
Nevertheless on the show went, and it was most amusing. Set in 18th-century London, April de Angelis's witty farce revolves around impresario David Garrick, his company of players and their rivals, and the controversial question of whether to perform She Stoops To Conquer, a new play by Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith which may or may not be too vulgar...
As Garrick, the greatest actor of his generation, Graham Jerome was suitably theatrical where necessary, as was Tom Shorrock in a hilarious depiction of the winning, impetuous Goldsmith.
There was an affecting performance by Chris Faulkner as hapless Charles Macklin (Garrick had stolen his thunder!) and a saucy over-the-top cameo by Tricia Goodchild as Lady Kingston.
Everyone contributed commendably with Cath Hannon deserving a special mention for superb comic timing and perfect diction in the roles of Hannah More and Mrs Wolfington. Under trying conditions, she held it together.
Staging, beards, wigs and costumes were brilliant, the play itself highly diverting and original, with historical characters mouthing modern idioms at times to great humorous effect.
The old adage from the stage that you should always leave the audience wanting more may well be correct; on this occasion, while the play itself was long, its run was sadly short.
As winners of this year's NODA award for Best Newcomers, whatever this resourceful group of performers chooses to put on in the near future should be well worth watching.