An Evening of Comedy, Street Theatre at Strode Theatre, Street and touring

THE annual summer Street Theatre tour has been an eagerly-awaited treat for many years now, and the 2019 offering, with a sparse three performances, is a collection of monologues and a one acter by the brilliant David Tristram.

Directed for the first time by Matthew Maisey, it started with Rowan Atkinsons pair of monologues, Heaven and Hell, performed by Kevin Hardacre and Glynn Webster, followed by Pam Ayres poem My Husband, with Hilary Quinlan and Joyce Grenfell’s immortal Lumpy Latimer story, Old Girls School Reunion. The first half ended with Samantha Elgar in David Tristram’s Late Entry, which calls for an actress and an adjudicator.

The director had the clever idea of taking the character of the adjudicator from Trist­ram’s two-hander and involving him in all the other monologues as well, as if all were competing in a drama festival. Sadly the plan wasn’t quite worked through enough to be convincing, but Tristram’s play is a wonderful satire on the box-ticking and self-congratulatory drivel spouted by some drama adjudicators. Samantha Elgar took a memorable romp through the regional accents of the British Isles in her portrayal of the needy actress.

Last Tango is a play about a failing village drama group and their last ditch attempt to get an audience. The answer is SEX, as director and chairman Gordon realises.

Glynn Webster’s pinpoint comic timing as set builder and reluctant actor Bernard was a joy, with Marie Salter’s statuesque limp as longtime leading lady Joyce and  Hilary Quinlan’s timid treasurer Margaret. Kevin Hardacre’s Bernard was typically dictatorial.

James Linham made the most of the Strode’s lighting opp­or­tunities, and Peter Wintle’s soundscape enhanced the atmosphere of all the pieces.


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