The Visitors and Last Tango in Little Grimley, TAG at Victoria Hall, Tisbury

TagVisi&Tango_067IT’S all too easy for amateur dramatic companies in small communities to get stuck in a rut, endlessly choosing tired old farces or murder mysteries … and that’s just what David Tristram’s play Last Tango in Little Grimley is all about.

The AmDramSoc’s chief tradition is to play to seven-eighth empty houses and to loose money. Now the grants have dried up and the landlord is demanding his rent.

Perennial chairman Gordon decides on a drastic do-or-die solution, and writes a play about the sex lives of the villagers to try to put bums on seats.

With only four active acting members, the choice of casting is inevitable, so we have glamourous Margaret, dependable lover of musicals Joyce, Bernard the set builder and Gordon himself, and at Tisbury they are brilliantly played by Sallianne Crosby as the Cotswold knitter Joyce, Ruth Phillips as a dominating Margaret, Mike Whitaker as marvellously natural Bernard and Jon Amos as the excitable Gordon.  Julie Phillips production makes the most of their talents in this very funny short play.

The evening started with a new and experimental play by Nichola Gee, and the writer and director had to step into the leading role at less than 24 hours notice when Charlie Greenwood was taken ill.

TagVisi&Tango_054Having worked on the play sporadically since her Performing Arts degree a decade ago, she was able to slip seamlessly into the part of Alice, whose “wonderland” is an asylum into which she has been taken after the deaths of her parents in a mysterious fire. Normal speech has deserted her, and she lives clutching a white rabbit, reciting gibberish poetry and surrounded by other inmates who take on the characters of the caterpillar, the white rabbit, the Cheshire cat, the dormouse and playing cards.

Medical staff become the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the March Hare and Tweedledum and Tweedledee in this fascinating and thought provoking look at one of the most peculiar of all our classic works of literature.

It was set on the flat floor of the Victoria Hall, with the seating on three sides, bringing both the comedy and the terror into an intimate relationship with the audience, and all the more effective for that.

This is Tisbury Arts Group proving their versatility and courage in putting on a challenging new work alongside a tried and tested comedy – even to the extent of handing out playing cards instead of tickets!


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