At the risk of being called a “ Stage door Johnny “ or perhaps in more modern parlance, a “Groupie “, I must admit, together with my wife, to being a staunch supporter of our Swaffham Players,
The Players comprise, as many townspeople know, a group of local thespians who on several occasions through the year produce pieces of entertainment for our “delight and delectation” as Leonard Sachs used to say when introducing acts at the “The Good Old Days” television show from the City of Leeds Variety Theatre.
The latest offering from our Players was a comedy, written by Reggie Oliver and entitled “Imaginary Lines”. This play only has a cast of five and with the play lasting around two-and-a-half hours a big responsibility is put on each member with regards to “lines learnt”, but the ever-reliable John Hooker, as prompter, had a fairly quiet evening.
The play takes a little time to settle down, and particularly with the audience, as dialogue between characters is interspersed with the individual’s thoughts stated aloud, and often very different from the words, eventually, actually “spoken”.
Wanda, played by Nicky Dawkins, and Howard, played by Stuart Travis, kicked off proceedings confidently and the play subsequently jollied along at a fair old pace.
The character of Sir Michael was played, with no little charm, by Victor Tucker. Marcie Loan took on the role of Carol, with plenty of “zing” as usual, as well as acting as the play’s director with John Hooker as her assistant.
Finally Sue Baxter was the splendid Olga Burlap and Sue excelled in the part, with that upper class accent and the endless twitching and posturing which was an absolute hoot.
All in all a lovely evening spent in the totally appropriate Barn Theatre.
If there is a “downside” then it has to be the apparent lack of town support, at least on this one occasion.
One hears enough around our town about there being nothing to leave home for in the evenings. Well, perhaps to the surprise of some, here were three evenings of exceptional entertainment on our doorstep put on by local people.
It is not reasonable to put the lack of audiences down to just lack of sufficient publicity.
Certainly Sue Travis, the player’s publicity officer pulled out all the stops to get this production announced on local radio and there were posters announcing the play posted in prominent locations around town.
This group deserves all the support it can get from townspeople, it has been running for more years than some of us care to remember and certainly it has more talent in its midst than it has had for many years.
Counting up the people listed in the programme for getting this play on stage it totals not many more than twenty, with many members doubling up on duties.
The Dawkins Family, John, Nicky, together with Joshua and Charlotte show real family commitment, and well done to all involved.