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December 10, 2005

The Farndale Avenue Macbeth

“The play’s the thing”, as someone in ‘Macbeth’ should have remarked, and it certainly was for the Pirton Players as they took to the stage with the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s production of Macbeth in early December. Obviously these dedicated players from Farndale Avenue were happily unaware of the theatrical superstition that demands you avoid like the plague actually calling the play ‘Macbeth’, as everything that can go wrong does go wrong, much to the delight of a full house in the Village Hall on the last night of a successful run.

The talented cast excellent in impressive ensemble playing, with outstanding performances from Dud Gentle as the reluctant caretaker pressganged into a last-minute appearance as Lady Macbeth (surely the first Lady Macbeth to sport a moustache) and Rose Hamilton-Mcleod as the briskly efficient Thelma who as Macbeth desperately tries to keep the show on the road. There was also a wonderfully camp adjudicator from the BBC played by Tom Gammell, and a splendid performance of gin-induced vagueness from Judy McDonnell as the hapless chairwoman Mrs Reece.

The comic moments came at us thick and fast, but I especially treasured a Banquo’s Ghost that only Macbeth is supposed to see, but in fact must have been visible from as far away as Hitchin; and a dagger suspended from a fishing rod in the wings for the “is this a dagger I see before me?” speech from an increasingly disgusted Thelma.

Happily by the end of the evening it’s all worked out for the Farndale Avenue ladies and – rather to their surprise – they’re on their way to the Grand Finals in Welwyn Garden City – the Pirton Players thoroughly deserved to be as well. Warm congratulations to the entire cast and production team of Jill Rogers, Lorna Sexton and Ann Langley. [Review by: Judith Elliot]

Director  -  Ann Langley

Producer - Lorna Sexton

Producer - Jill Rogers

Dawn  -  Penny Picken
Felicity  -  Katy Guess
George Peach  -  Tom Gammell
Gwynneth  -  Margaret Johnson
Henry  -  Dudley Gentle
Kate  -  Ann Fausset
Minnie  -  Sue Kennedy
Mrs Reece  -  Judy McDonnell
Plummer  -  John Newham
Thelma  -  Rosie Hamilton-McLeod


Bar  -  Malcolm Brodie
Costumes  -  Alison Bierrum
Costumes  -  Ann Wilshere
Director  -  Ann Langley
Front of House  -  Carol Brown
Lights  -  Peter Johnson
Lights  -  James Maple
Make-up & Hair  -  Fran Manning
Producer  -  Jill Rogers
Producer  -  Lorna Sexton
Prompt  -  Betty Turner
Props  -  Liz Gentle
Props  -  Liz Chapman
Refreshments  -  Hilda Handscombe
Refreshments  -  Pat Duffy
Set Design & Construction  -  Dudley Gentle
Set Design & Construction  -  Beth Harding
Set Design & Construction  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Design & Construction  -  Ann Fausset
Sound  -  Dave Wallace
Stage Crew  -  Gill Eades
Stage Crew  -  Ed Picken
Stage Crew  -  Neil Shearer
Stage Crew  -  Ed Willis
Stage Manager  -  Brian Sommerville
Wardrobe Mistress  -  Ann Wilshere

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