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Hungerford Town Show 2003

Salad Days, 26th February to 1st March 2003.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Delightfully dated comedy

The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company: Salad Days, at John O'Gaunt School, Hungerford, from Wednesday February 26, to Saturday March 1

Salad Days is another world. Not just a rose-tinted past, but a place where a magic piano makes everyone dance uncontrollably and people fly in giant tea saucers. As a music show it is a strange mixture of characters and sketches all held together with an implausible and flimsy storyline. A bit dated, but still full of delightful comedy and entertaining music.

The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company used its considerable resources, including a huge cast ranging in age from eight to 70, to mount a colourful and enjoyable production.

In the two leading roles Amy Rooks as Jane looked lovely and showed presence and charm while Darren Appleby as Timothy brought a quirky, boyish and very pleasing physical comedy and energy to his role.

The difficult breakfast scene was impressive with Tessa Brown (Tim's Mother) Paul Hyde (Tim's father) and Sarah Fradgley as the engaging Aunt Prue. The beauty Salon sketch was particularly well played by Jennifer Hyde (Lady Raeburn) and Jane Pike as Heloise the very funny beautician from hell. At the Cleopatra Nightclub John Miles gave good value with his rendition of Cleopatra and Louise Neilson as Asphynxia with her You Are the Sand in My Eyes was a delight. Very enjoyable comedy performances also from Karen Ashby (Rowena), Guy Parks (PC Boot) Rouskea Munt (The OTT Fiona) and there was an effective mime cameo from Haffi Munt as the white-faced Troppo.

Many other roles were well presented by the cast, and an enthusiastic and vibrant chorus (with, hoorah, plenty of smiles) they provided excellent backup.

Lots of colourful sets complemented the action and an effective combo of musicians provided lively quality accompaniment.

Director David Clayton captured the style of the piece well and had drilled the large cast well so the action was slick. Some of the musical numbers slightly taxed the actors' voices, but that said, musical director Paul Hyde had rehearsed them well and delivery was good. Choreographer Taz Martin created interesting routines, some of the principal ensemble routines in particular were excellent. A superb community effort and great entertainment.