Reviewed by Trish Francis
Comedy Capers is the latest production by Top of the Torrens Theatre Group and brings together comedy with music in two one act plays presented at each performance, directed by David Evans.
The first performance, IN THE BAG by Frances Bartram is set in the back room of a charity shop. Maureen and Mary are volunteers who find some money among donations. A lot of money. Just as they are deciding what to do with it, two new volunteers arrive resulting in them taking measures to seclude their find with amusing consequences. The comedy is interspersed with parodies of popular songs with varying degrees of success, and the audience are invited to join in. Kate Farrer as Maureen was hesitant in initial vocals, but was strong in character and grew progressively more confident. She was well matched with Mary, (Sue Hill) who was reminiscent of Prunella Scales and gave an endearing performance. Siobhan Barnden and Miranda Miller completed the small cast and did well under Evan’s guidance, given the thin storyline.
More successful was the second performance, LAST PANTO IN LITTLE GRIMLEY, a well written comedy by David Tristram. The hilarious tale of a failing amateur dramatics group attempting, against all the odds, to put on a panto had the audience laughing out loud early in the piece. Graham Todd was captivating as a frustrated Gordon. Meralyn Schaeffer as Margaret flits between compassion and cynicism in her dealings with Gordon, the talent deprived Joyce (Terene Chapman) and reluctant performer Bernard (Pete Stephens). Although the script reading was a part of the play, it appeared as if the cast were at times relying on this for their lines. A pity as this detracted from their otherwise consistent characterisation.
Comedy Capers is a reminder of grass roots Community Theatre in a small town, with small casts, small audiences and big value entertainment.