An Evening of One-Act Plays

I quite like an evening of one act plays.  It’s like an evening in front of the telly, watching different programmes – and a hark back to the times when ITV used to run Armchair Theatre.  A little before my time, but I think it should return.

Poole and Parkstone Players here present three lovely little stories.

The first, Alternative Accommodation, by Pam Valentine, is the story of the recently widowed Anna (played by Virginia Harrington, who never fails to impress and delight) and her three children trying to do the best for her and make arrangements for where and how she is going to live. Anna, however, has her own plans….

This is a lovely little play with differing characters nicely played by Genette Churchill (Joy), Andrew Hobbs (Peter) and, for me, the star of the piece, Clare I’Anson as the desperate-to-be-upbeat Vicars wife, Gemma.  A beautiful portrayal of a façade of happiness betraying a rather controlled life of doing what she “should”.  Her moments and facial expressions were sometimes laugh out loud funny and sometimes a little sad.  Lovely.

Next, we are given a nicely inventive piece, A Dog’s Life, also written by Pam Valentine.  It’s the story of four dogs in an animal shelter, with people playing the dogs.  It’s a bitter-sweet tale with plenty of humour and pathos.  A real treat to watch and a real treat for actors wanting to flex their character muscles and, the four dogs, Fifi (Maxine Davenport), Fritz (Nick Clarke), Beth (June Garland) and Ginger (Tilly Churchill) are all superbly presented and enacted.   Angus Maule plays the Warden with suitable understanding of his part and Genette Churchill pops back on stage to be the visitor.

It was Tilly Churchill in particular who impressed.  She is a ball of energy and very much one to watch for in the future, but the star of this piece was June Garland, who really got her teeth into the role (pun intended) and… well, dear reader, she made me cry…. So…. There’s that.

Lastly, we are given a staple of Am Dram one-acters…  A comfy pair of slippers to put on and take you home with a smile.

Last Tango in Little Grimley is the tale of a fictional Am-Dram society, pretty much just about to crumble.  But, they have a trick up their sleeve to excite the audience, currently staying away in their droves.   Give ‘em something sexy, and warn them that it’s going to be sexy…. That will get them in….

It’s a fun little story to close the evening with and is ably performed by Allan Bullock (Gordon), Veronica Ryder (Margaret), Christine Roberts (Joyce) and Patrick D’Ardenne (the nicely terse and to-the-point Bernard).

The best and funniest moment of this, for me, was Joyce rehearsing arm-wavy anger with vocals that were anything but angry.  Real belly laughs.

The three directors, Jo Legg, Jane Adams and Pat Donovan have every right to feel proud of their performers and of the staging and lighting for the evening, which was also superbly done.

This is a nice little night out and is highly entertaining.  It runs again tonight and tomorrow (Fri 16th and Sat 17th).