Downturn Abbey, 22nd to 24th November 2018
The ever befuddled and renowned partygoer Augustus Downturn, son of the highly respected Lord and Lady Downturn finds himself requiring a cunning plan to hide his identity after writing a far too honest review of a potential suitors Artwork. The Abbey is under increasing financial pressure as it enters the 1920s and is reluctantly ready to accept its first paying guest. As the generations navigate their way through the cultural changes of the age there seems to be an uninvited guest also looking to improve his status through deceptive means. Will Gussy’s plan work? Who will come to stay at Downturn Abbey? And Who is the imposter?
At the Coronation Hall, Kintbury.
From Bastables the Butchers, Church Street, Kintbury.
Reviews of Downturn Abbey
22nd to 24th November 2018
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
What ho! That was a bally good romp
Kintbury Players: Downturn Abbey, at the Coronation Hall, Kintbury, from Thursday, November 22, to Saturday, November 24
With what might seem startling honesty, writer and director Julie Carlisle admits she has never seen an episode of Downton Abbey, the popular television series that this play satirises.
To be clear though, as the politicians are now fond of saying, what she and co-writer and husband William Forde wanted was to adapt a PG Wodehouse story for the stage, but the Wodehouse Trust gave an emphatic 'No'. So that would be why we had lots of' 'toodle pip's, 'dash it all's and 'what a bally nuisance' outbursts then? Now, think in terms of Bertie Wooster meets Downton Abbey and you are in the right neighbourhood. And a very funny, sometimes hilarious, neighbourhood it was too.
First on stage was Stan Dooley, making the most of the part of Lord 'Gussy' Downturn, a cheeky, often inebriated young man in the Wooster style. Roy Hutchings played the butler in a starchy, obsequious manner and Veronica Bullard put in a strong performance as Aunt Milicent, her movements and facial expressions saying it all.
Julian Dickins was also good with the expressions on his face as the long-suffering Lord Downturn, trying hard to keep everybody happy, and Tiffany Saul hammed it up effectively as Lady D. Other parts were played with gusto and relish by Natalie Ann Riley, Gerry Heaton, Jane Minchin, Ben Prout and a strong turn from Derek Clements as a mostly silent, but very visible under butler. He it was who, when asked to bring in the son and heir, misunderstood and brought in Lady D's hair extension. Saul turned up again as Maud Miggins, this time able to do a cockney turn as a chaperone.
The pace of the play was crisp and smooth and the many scene changes made quickly and effectively, a tribute to Julie Carlisle's direction, although she did herself a disservice by omitting her own name from the programme. Fortunately, most people at the Coronation Hall would know the writers or would have seen the posters, but it did highlight the pitfalls that are likely to catch you out when working in the Wodehouse area of mishaps and misadventures.
What matters though, is that this was a thoroughly good romp, played up for all it was worth by the actors, who must surely have enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.
'Allo, 'Allo, 22nd to 30th November 2013
Two Pins for your Chances, 28th to 29th June 2013
The Happiest Days of Your Life, 23rd to 27th November 2012. See the review in the archive.
Spring Into Summer, 27th to 29th May 2010
Where There's a Will, 20th to 21st November 2009. See the review in the Archive.
Dame Agatha's Greatest Case, 22nd November 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Revue, 28th November to 1st December 2007. See the review in the Archive.
Kintbury Players staged a one-act play as part of the HADCAF programme, on 8th July 2005.
Load of Old Bowls, 15th to 17th July 2004. See the review in the Archive.
How the Other Half Loves, 27th to 29th November 2003. See the review in the Archive.
A Policeman's Lot, 28th to 30th November 2002. See the review in the Archive.
We took part in the Hungerford festival (HADCAF) in 2002.
'Allo 'Allo, 29th November to 1st December 2001. See the review in the Archive.
Respecting Your Piers, 19th to 21st April 2001. See the review in the Archive.