REVIEW: The Village Hall; Stage Door Theatre Company

The cast of Stage Doors The Village Hall, taken by Gilly Fontaine-Grist. (s)
The cast of Stage Doors The Village Hall, taken by Gilly Fontaine-Grist. (s)

Last week for three nights, audiences were treated by Stage Door Theatre Company to an evening of farcical fun and frivolous frolics at St Joseph’s Community Centre, Barnoldswick.

The Village Hall, a series of three one-act plays written by John Bartlett, provides opportunities for performing for highly skilled actors and nervous novices alike; and each individual put a firm stamp on his or her role – it was a production full of caricature and impish wit.

Opening with The Jumble Sale, Steve Royle employed a developed, dry comedy to the role of caretaker Mr Wrankin, a dominant personality who was heavily put upon: a Victor Meldew with no wife to grumble at (that we could see), so we, the audience, fulfilled that role nicely.

As a foil to this woebegone character in overalls, the vicar (Peter Hook) was a bewildered ray of sunshine, attempting to thaw the frostiest of hearts and sweeten the sourest of moods.

Sarcasm and dissonance was in abundance, in the form of Mrs Meacher (Anne Allan), Jane (Claire Foster) and Miss Kill (Gillian Gane), contrasting with the meek Phyllis (Pauline Shalliker) and Mrs Tumley (Mary Robinson), bumbling Colonel (Gordon Ingleby) and frustrated amateur director, Colin (Mike McKeown), all of whom were to play significant roles in this production.

For The Melodrama, the stage was the set for an outrageous comedy: the cameo role of the pianist was played by the plays’ director Janet Philbrook with panache: with aching sides and tears down cheeks, we rocked in our seats as she opened the play, played a few notes, then left us wanting more. Jack (Samantha Leigh) also stole the limelight.

The Wedding nicely rounded off the trio. This production also featured Jamie Gane, Rachel Cox, Anne McKeown, Terry Hall, Drew Nutter and Sam Jennings.