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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Haymarket - Perfect Pitch

13th to 28th June 2003.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Imperfect pitch

Perfect Pitch, at The Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke, from Friday, June 13, to Saturday, June 28

Like mothers-in-law, caravanners are used to being laughed at and from the healthy outdoor look of the audience last Saturday, John Godber's comedy, directed by Kate Bramley, had persuaded many of them to swap motorways for the theatre.

"What's yours?" enquired the man in the next seat. Rightly assuming it had nothing to do with interval drinks, I told him the make of our van, for I, too, am a caravanner, and can therefore appreciate jokes about siting vans and unco-operative awnings.

Distinctly middle class Ron (Robert Angell) and Yvonne (Gilly Cohen) christen their new van with a visit to a downmarket site - not up to the usual hols in France, but at least Yvonne can maintain fitness while studying her Mikado music. Their peace shatters with the arrival of a cross between a chicken shed and beach hut containing Grant, (Andy Williams as a gloriously zombie-like 'King of Grunt') and fun girl Steph, played superbly with the right touch of naivety by Michelle Chadwick. Ron and Yvonne listen aghast to uninhibited shrieks of passion coming from the rocking van, and rightly fear the worst.

When Steph persuades Yvonne to join her for a night out to watch male strippers, Yvonne enters into the spirit of the thing, horrifying Ron (who wears sensible sandals with a centre strap and suffers from his nerves).

From the first notes of The Merry Peasant the audience were out to enjoy themselves and there was much to laugh at. Later the laughter turns cleverly to pathos with Ron and Yvonne's relationship floundering and Grant and Steph becoming the good guys. Nevertheless, I found Perfect Pitch a plot stretched a little thin, not helped by the open stage ending rather than a final curtain.

In spite of some good laughs, for me this was a pitch short of perfect.