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Mortimer Dramatic Society - The Amorous Ambassador

22nd to 23rd and 29th to 30th October 2010.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Mortimer farce lives up to its hilarious billing

Mortimer Dramatic Society: The Amorous Ambassador, at St John's Hall, Mortimer, on Friday, October 22, Saturday, October 23, Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30

When a play’s synopsis includes the words “with hilarious results”, it isn’t always the case, but Mortimer Dramatic Society’s The Amorous Ambassador lives up to the description – it’s a hoot.

Set in the US Ambassador’s country house (a beautifully designed set by Phil and Cathy Ramsell), Harry the Ambassador, his wife Lois and daughter Debbie have all arranged to go away separately for the weekend, but each intends to return secretly to the empty house with a lover. Long-suffering butler Perkins (a suave performance by Joe Woodrow) promises to be the soul of discretion to each of the three.

After a bomb scare at the embassy, Captain South of the Marines and Harry’s secretary Faye join the crowd which also includes neighbour Marian and Debbie’s boyfriend Joe.

Yes, it’s a farce, by Michael Parker; if we hadn’t already guessed, the impressive count of five doors and a French window would have confirmed it.

Tom Shorrock gave a confident portrayal of Harry, bravely disporting his bare legs and chest in a Tarzan costume. Terri Chopping, as Debbie, made full use of her expressive face, and Ian Beavon (Joe) had his work cut out as a quick-change artist.

Gilly Lee, as Marian, looked better scantily dressed than some of the others (sorry, Tom). James Burton Stewart was good as Captain South. It looked as though he was enjoying his part, even when he kept getting hit in the face by a door, although he did need to trip up more convincingly.

In the smaller parts, Melanie Sherwood was Lois, and Mari Fleming’s experience and comic timing shone out as the extremely dim Faye. All the American accents were convincing.

The pace was excellent in the first act, but it dropped a bit in act two, with some very difficult quick changes that didn’t quite hit the mark.

Congratulations to director Tom Shorrock and producer Shelley Worboys for including five actors new to MDS. This production was well acted and great fun, with a load of laughs, particularly in act one.

PAUL SHAVE