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Folk and Blues
Chorus of Disapproval
by Alan Ayckbourn
The Mitre Theatre, Croydon
April 2008
Directed by Di Jones

Please use THIS LINK to view the photographs
Five Stars in The Chorus.

Triangular pillars, with each face designed for a different set were excellently created by scenic artist Jill Wilson and made for very speedy scene changes in this complicated and demanding play by Alan Ayckbourn.

A play within a play brings the Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society’s production of The Beggar’s Opera to life, woven with the intricate detail of rehearsals, egos, viragos and the good-hearted but blinkered Welsh director, Dafydd ap Llewellyn, trying to bring the whole thing together.

Art reflects life as the opera reveals womanising, and new member Guy Jones causes heartache within PALOS as he conducts a parallel entanglement with two ladies from the cast.

Neil 0’Gorman’s first-rate Guy is naïve, well mannered and gentle – how did he get himself into these entanglements? One of them is the director’s wife, Hannah; Julia Gibbs shows Hannah’s vulnerability and willingness to give up her husband, home and children for Guy, whilst Katherine Bottomley is the sexually predatory Fay who, with husband Ian (Ian Brown), indulges in dinner parties with a difference.

A superb performance from Dave Price as the artistic and blinkered Dafydd, lays on a heavy Welsh accent whilst wholly into his opera to the exclusion of all else.

There is more squabbling over the taciturn Crispin Usher (stalwart Paul Grace) who has young Linda Washbrook (Samantha Ring) on a string but is enticed away by Bridget with Lorraine Price using her finely-honed acting skills to create a darkly comic and caustic stage manager.

Julia Ascott’s polished county accent is perfect for Rebecca Huntley-Pike whose no-nonsense approach to the show and the cast’s goings on are forthrightly expressed. Warwick Jones is her canny husband Jarvis. The Washbrook parents, Alex Greenslade and Claire Ali, bring apt on and off-stage insecurity to their roles and Fraser Macdonald adds his live piano-playing skills as the opera’s accompanist Mr Ames. The show, expertly directed by Di Jones, shows amateur theatre at its best, whilst the script pokes fun at the genre.

The high standards achieved by both cast and crew easily earn the production a worthy five stars


   5 Stars         Croydon Advertiser.   

by Alan Ayckbour


Guy Jones    Neil O’Gorman

Dafydd ap Llewellyn    Dave Price

Hannah Llewellyn    Julia Gibbs

Fay Hubbard    Katherine Bottomley

Ian Hubbard    Ian Brown

Rebecca Huntley-Pike    Julia Ascott

Jarvis Huntley-Pike    Warwick Jones

Enid Washbrook    Claire Ali

Ted Washbrook    Alex Greenslade

Linda Washbrook    Samantha Ring

Mr Ames    Fraser Macdonald

Bridget Baines    Lorraine Price

Crispin Usher    Paul Grace

Raymond    Andy Holton

Stagehand    Richard Jones

Chorus    Mary Holton

Chorus   Jo Lakin