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Tuesday, 03 May 2011 (3014562)
Situation Comedy proves a show success in Parbold
by David Simister

Two situation comedy writers trying to overcome writer’s block wouldn’t normally seem an exciting premise for a play, but Parbold’s Douglas Drama Group’s interpretation of “Situation Comedy” written by Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke was inspired, due in no small part to the excellent direction of Donna Turner, who was making her full length directing debut with the group. Jim McEwan gave an excellent performance as Charles Summerskill whilst Steve Riley was the perfect foil as Charles’s long-suffering writing partner, Arthur Grey. Charles’s wife Doris, a house-proud, if somewhat dull-witted character, but an excellent cook, was played with great sympathy by Lynda Sixsmith, whilst Arthur’s wife, Beryl, who could best be described as a slovenly slapper, was excellently portrayed by Sandra Jerath. Having imbibed too much homemade wine and drunkenly swapped partners, the men soon discover that man cannot live by bread alone, in the case of Doris, or indeed by bed alone, in the case of Beryl. Mention should also be made of the cameo roles played admirably by Ernie Savage as blood-sucking literary agent, Maurice and by Alyson Towler, superb as nosey neighbour Miss Trotter. The action involved many costume changes which the cast and backstage crew coped with admirably.

Having seen other productions of this play, I have always thought the ending to be a bit contrived, with the two writers, alone on the stage, in the best tradition of British farce, turning their backs to the audience and dropping their trousers as the curtains start to close. However, in this production, a topical twist was introduced when, in a slightly irreverent, but playful tribute to the Royal Wedding held earlier in the day, the two writers dropped their trousers to reveal Union Jack underwear - a very funny moment to end the show with.

Overall then - an excellent evening’s entertainment – amateur dramatics at its best.


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