Frome Drama Club
Performing a play within a play seems to have been a recurring theme for Frome Drama Club recently – Noises Off, Farndale - but this time they are taking on Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society's production of The Beggar's Opera! In A Chorus of Disapproval Alan Ayckbourn takes us from agonising auditions, through glimpses of PALOS's potentially dreadful production in rehearsal, and eventually to something approaching a triumphant final curtain.
It is Ayckbourn's joyfully wicked dissection of the politics of amateur theatre, however, which makes this play so painfully, heart-breakingly funny, as he skilfully weaves parallels between the backstage relationships in PALOS and the plot of The Beggar's Opera itself.
Though he has written more than 70 plays since he started out 50 years ago, there are many who consider A Chorus of Disapproval one of his best.
In it we follow our hero, Guy Jones, (played by Laurie Parnell) from the day he first joins PALOS. Recently widowed, and looking to expand his social life, he proves an immediate hit with all the ladies in the cast and very quickly finds himself in the arms of the director's wife, Hannah (played by a very welcome and experienced newcomer to FDC, Becky Baxter), and in the bed of the predatory Fay (Carol Lewis) whose husband Ian (David Holt) is hoping to gain a business advantage by being so accommodating.
Through a series of casting mishaps, all too common in amateur theatre, Guy is rapidly promoted out of the chorus and through a range of increasingly important roles until he ends up playing Macheath, the male lead!
Other members of the cast include several faces well-known to Frome audiences: Alan Burgess, Juanita Chedzoy, Sandra Gaisford, Mike Walker and Geoff Hunt, as well as relatively recent newcomers: David Gatliffe, Alan Didymus, Sarah-Jane Worrall, and Anthony and Sian Davies, all of who first appeared with FDC this summer in Under Milk Wood.
A Chorus of Disapproval is at the Merlin Theatre from Wednesday, November 20 to Saturday, November 23.
Tickets cost £5.