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KATS - Chase Me Up Farndale Avenue, S’il Vous Plait!

9th to 12th August 2017

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Formidable ladies do it again

Chaos with Farndale Avenue Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society (as the Farndale Avenue Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society), at Bucklebury Memorial Hall, from Wednesday, August 9, to Saturday, August 12

Chase Me Up Farndale Avenue, S'il Vous Plait! is another offering from the Farndale series, described as "a comedy très saucy" by authors David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jnr. In this delightful and entertaining production the main upholders of the great farce tradition were, of course, the members of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society; entertaining their continental guests as we witnessed the catastrophic happenings unfold.

The five-strong cast had to assume many roles, requiring an amazing amount of costume changes – some even cross-dressing – and to add even more confusion the wardrobe mistress was well and truly thrown in at the deep end when she was called upon to stand in for one of the cast. In this role Eileen Paula (Minnie) struck just the right notes of bewilderment and hamminess with perfect delivery, creating many laughs. The chairman of the guild, Mrs Reece, tried masterly to keep things under control and Mandy Cole nailed this superbly as she desperately tried to hold things together. Gemma Williams, as Felicity in her many guises was outstanding, particularly as the leggy French Maid with her hilarious 'hoover' capers at the start. Carrie Marsh (Thelma), too, delighted with her clever over the top acting and excellent timing. Craig Robinson (Gordon), the only male in the cast, also delivered on all fronts (male and female) and completed a great cast. I have to say I was totally confused at times about who was playing who, but it really didn't matter as it was such good fun.

A number of technical happenings like collapsing sets, upside-down doors, explosions and sound mishaps, were, as always expertly handled and all added to the fun. In the style of French farce, there were a lot of comings and goings through the numerous doors (not always staying on the hinges) and the pace and slickness was excellent throughout. This is not easy to do, requiring much rehearsal and spot on timing.

KATS were more than equal to these demands and pulled it off splendidly. Director Janet Kilgallon-Brook should be proud of her own, her cast and her team's achievements.