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

HADCAF - All For Your Delight

30th June 2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Am-drams are our delight on a Friday night

Local drama groups battle against the heat to keep their festive audience entertained

For Your Delight, at The Croft Hall, on Friday June 30

Four local drama groups showed last Friday that enthusiasm for am-dram is flourishing, with every group displaying impressive talent.

The Still Alarm from the Ravensbury Players was short and quietly amusing, as opposed to provoking belly laughs though the audience, perhaps bemused by the heat, didn't pick up on all the subtle humour.

Even allowing for pauses for effect, some of the initial dialogue dragged, but once the two firemen burst in, the pace picked up and zipped along.

Good performances all round, particularly from First Fireman (Gary Hyland), made this a lively start to the evening.

Scene in a Box consisted of sketches from Deadly Quiche Productions, the talented trio of Zoe Iles, Paul German and Lisa Harrington. There were some absolute gems, including Paul as an incompetent medium, a spoof on TV house improvement programmes - "a little slice of Narnia in one corner" was suggested - and a version of Titanic which had the audience laughing.

Not all were up to that standard, there were too many sketches, occasionally repetitive, and the screams at one point surely made the hearing dog present clap his paws over his ears.

A different mood came from Hungerford Theatre Company, performing a play written by a member, young Hoffi Munt. This clever idea featured three characters representing unknowns - a soldier, a highwayman and Anon - and was based on the thought that when no one remembers the individuals they will disappear.

The dialogue was slick, but required occasional prompting and could have been pruned with advantage. It was a creative imagination which at the end showed the backdrop wall to have varieties of the words I WOZ 'ERE in luminous paint. Keep writing, Hoffi.

Finally Newbury Dramatic Society performed What's For Pudding and it says much for the cast that although by this time the audience were nearly expiring with heat, it was thoroughly entertaining.

This was one of those two couples not getting on, plus the funny character in the corner plays, immensely enjoyable with some gorgeously cutting asides from Fenella Newton giving a well-judged performance as Mary the bored wife. Every character was completely believable - you felt you knew people just like them - and that surely is the mark of very good acting.

An entertaining evening.