Plays ‘n’ Chips is an annual event in which Broadstone Players mix some new talent in with some seasoned amateurs in three or four short, one act plays or sketches with the added twist of a meal of fish and chips (sausage or vegetarian options are available) in the interval. Most of the beginners are quite easy to spot but it isn’t necessarily the case – some of those beginners will go on to be the seasoned amateurs of future years[*].
This year there are three such playlets and the first “You Gotta be Dynamic …!“, by Mary Bryan, is a corker. Jill Darling, who also directs, plays Mrs Harris with confidence and panache, ably abetted by Cheryl Connor and Gay Wood as her co-workers in the company office. I note, particularly, the oh-so-convincing hesitancy with which Mrs Harris deciphers the text on the torn and crumpled letter from the waste paper bin – no beginner there, but the fact that she also directs is a bit of a give-away. Supporting roles are played by Peter Amos, Paul Stocker and Lesley James. It is a charming and, as far as I am concerned, original story with lots of humour, which was very well appreciated by the capacity audience tonight – it is worth coming for this one alone!
After the fish supper (from Harlees in Corfe Mullen) we have a 2 hander in “Cupboard Love” by Jean McConnell in which two ladies of a certain age compare notes on both their latest male admirers and their own cookery skills during a fitness class. While a part of the conclusion is, perhaps, predictable – what they decide to do about it is not. The two roles of Peggy (Michelle Barter) and Jane (Val Smith) are well played – and if either or both of those are beginners it certainly didn’t show tonight.
The final episode of the trilogy – if you can use that word in a theatrical sense – is “Bang, You’re Dead” by Paul Reakes, which is the only “thriller” of the three. Lesley James plays an excellent role as Lydia, while Chris Kemp is initially quite dynamic as Marcus – the “burglar”, in his mask, but loses confidence when he takes the mask off (you could say that about Batman or Spiderman, I suppose). Supporting roles are played by Michael Albinson, who seemed uncomfortable as Theo (but see my point [*] above), and Suzanne Viney as Amelia. There are several plot twists – which I won’t spoil – but I will say “remember to drink the brandy!”.
The shows – all three of them – run again tomorrow, 1st September, in a matinee at 14.15 (accompanied by a cream tea, rather than fish and chips), tomorrow evening at 19.30 and then next Friday (7th) and Saturday (8th) in the evenings only. Productions at the Broadstone Memorial Hall always manage to evoke a friendly, community atmosphere, you can have a drink (evenings only) from the licensed bar and, if you discount the value of the fish supper, the shows themselves are only a few quid – bargain!