Bishopstoke Memorial Hall is tucked away in a beautiful location right next to the river in Bishopstoke.
I had never been here before and the hall itself brought back many a fond memory for me as it reminded me of my old village hall back in the heart of Somerset, where I spent many a night performing plays and pantomimes with my Dad.
I was really excited for Inspector Drake And The Time Machine this evening as my own father had actually played the inspector in Inspector Drake’s Last Case some six or seven years ago and I knew just how well written and humorous the shows could be.
Tonight’s performance started off with a lot of energy as Sergeant Plod (Jon Morgan) and Jack the crime scene investigator (Michele Zadra) took to the stage, delivering some rather hilarious – if cheesy – lines. The energy did dip at the arrival of Inspector Drake (Pete Burton), however, and unfortunately never came back up.
Inspector Drake plays are rather short (usually in one act) and as such the energy needs to be high, the cues need to be tight and the comic timing needs to be hit with precision. However, there was a lack of the above this evening.
My favourite character was that of Sergeant Plod (Jon Morgan), who played the blistering police officer rather well, and often when watching him literally plod about on stage, I did forget entirely that I was reviewing a show and was simply happy to watch the action unfold for a moment or two.
The show as a whole was generally a little flat and sometimes left me feeling just a little uncomfortable as the humour was lost in the more awkward moments between Inspector Drake and The High Priestess (Marie Bradley).
The Bishopstoke Players themselves do make a real event of their plays and the refreshments, make shift bar and Raffle was very happily received.
My star of the show this evening actually goes to one young woman not on the stage! To the blonde girl assisting her Dad with the raffle, you had us in stitches with the amount of general sass and humour you exuded as you selected the tickets and urged people to keep away from the wine because “Daddy wants that”. You really summed up the community feel of the Bishopstoke Players for me, and I would love to see you on a stage yourself someday as I can imagine that would be one heck of an entertaining show.
Lastly, I cannot end my review without mentioning the incredible work that the Bishopstoke Players do for the local community, as this evening they presented a rather large cheque to Action for Children. This is a wonderful cause that helps disadvantaged children across the UK by doing what’s right, what’s needed and what works for children.
I was rather touched to see the charitable donation from the Bishopstoke Players and can only say “Keep up the good work”.