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November 01, 1996

The Village Fete

It was not an easy play to direct, produce or act – but the Pirton Players rose to the occasion and treated a capacity audience to a most amusing and enjoyable performance of Peter Tinniswood’s play ‘The Village Fete’.

At first it seemed as if the story line was to be the familiar drama and politics surrounding a typical village event. As the play progresses, however, we discovered that the Empson family’s move into the country was to transform the lives of bossy sister (Judy Atkinson), naïve Rosie (Penelope Siddons) , author William (Roger Southam) and elderly father (Roger Blackburn).

Was the change caused by the house, village life, the forthcoming fete, or the intervention of Winston Hayballs (Dudley Gentle)? The charms of the wealthy widow Mrs Goodwin (Valmai Guess) and the attentions of busybody neighbours (Sue Kennedy and Graham Gibbs) certainly had their effect. But it was rough diamond Winston who charmed the ladies, encouraged William to switch interests from train-spotter to Mrs Goodwin, humoured the pipe-puffing father by listening to his endless stories about India, and still found time to rewire the house and fix the stenchpipe.

Congratulations are due to Dud Gentle for a very funny interpretation of the uncouth Winston. But beneath the knock-about, the rest of the cast had the difficult task of subtly changing their characters as the play progressed, in the process reminding us of more serious aspects of family relationships.

Well done John Souster and his production team for turning Pirton Players’ first play into a great success. [Review by: Andy Hofton]

Director  -  John Souster

Father  -  Roger Blackburn
Janet  -  Sue Kennedy
Mrs Goodwin  -  Valmai Guess
Nancy  -  Judy McDonnell
Removal Man  -  Brian Sommerville
Removal Man  -  Neil Scrivener
Rosie  -  Penny Picken
Stanley  -  Graham Gibbs
William  -  Roger Southam
Winston  -  Dudley Gentle

Assistant Stage Manager  -  Neil Scrivener
Assistant Stage Manager  -  Brian Sommerville
Box Office  -  Susie Welch
Character Development  -  Paul Kerswill
Director  -  John Souster
House Management  -  Geoff Welch
Lighting  -  Alistair Moon
Lighting  -  Derek Webb
Make-up  -  Fran Manning
Printing  -  Pam Finbow
Prompt  -  Lorna Sexton
Set Painting  -  Liz Gentle
Set Painting  -  Liz Chapman
Sound  -  Dave Wallace
Stage Manager  -  Keiron Jones

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