What a farce!

The cast in action
The cast in action

A foray into farce is the latest venture for the Rossendale Players in their delightful production of 'The Day They Kidnapped the Pope'.

Joao Bethancourt's play about a Jewish Brooklyn taxi driver who kidnaps the Pope has a wonderfully comedic feel with a serious underlying message, well presented by debut Players director Rebecca Crampton.

Rebecca, who is more often seen on the stage at the Player's New Millennium Theatre in Waterfoot, this time directs her colleagues who perform well with an eclectic mix of accents including New York, Yiddish and Italian.

Indeed, a quartet of newcomers to the company are led capably by David West in an understated performance as the respected Pontiff and Victoria Connolly who takes on the role of Sara Leibowitz.

Youngsters Tom Connolly and Alexandra Kennedy also excel as the Leibowitz, mastering the New York drawl with aplomb.

Sara is the put-upon Jewish housewife of Samuel, played by regular Martyn Frost, whose latest hair-brained scheme has led to him kidnapping the Pope and hiding him in their pantry.

But it soon transpires that the kidnapping has an altruistic motive. It transpires that the Leibowitz's eldest son was killed in Vietnam, and Samuel's hope is for an end to killing for 24 hours.

My one criticism of the play is that the action and jokes sometimes got in the way or clouded this important message, one which is more than relevant today.

An admirable supporting cast includes Simon Pierce, Kevin Clarke, Stephen Claxon and David Rhodes.

The play runs at the New Millennium Theatre, Burnley Road East, Waterfoot, until Saturday, December 2nd.