One of the pleasures of West Norfolk is the amount of cultural delights it has to offer.
The Corn Exchange offers a never-ending diet of top-class entertainment and is supported by gems such as Westacre Theatre to cater for most needs
But what I have really enjoyed since I came here has been the am-dram on offer.
It is staggeringly good, or at least, the productions I have been to have been of very high quality. Maybe I’ve just been lucky to miss the not-so-good ones.
Of course, I don’t get to everything. We tend not to automatically review village hall productions and sometimes I just can’t get to things anyway.
But KLODS (King’s Lynn Operatic and Dramatic Society), King’s Lynn Players and West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society rarely miss the mark.
This is even when something goes pretty disastrously wrong, as when a lead in a G&S production of the Pirates of Penzance lost her voice a year or two back and society stalwart Amanda Arterton had to step in to do a ‘voice over’ off stage (actually, in front of stage) with the poor actress miming!
As I recall, the singing bit went off without a hitch. The talking though rather stretched credulity (and acting skills – quite hard to synchronise mimed conversation).
I must admit that even in the West End I am always slightly on tenterhooks for anything that goes wrong.
I’m not the sort to enjoy it, perhaps feeling rather accident-prone myself. I don’t really enjoy those blooper programmes on TV. Well, not unless it’s that old clip of Richard Whiteley being bitten by a ferret. Somehow that never fails to amuse.
So watching amateur thespians the chances of error are greatly increased.
Any sensible am-dram director will firmly declare himself a modernist of the most doctrinaire kind and attempt to clear the stage of any props and as little scenery as can be gotten away with.
The more a phone has to ring, the more likely that the sound man will miss his cue.
Anything complicated like a gun that has to go bang – well, you’re asking for it then, I suppose. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a frozen-looking actor stare intently at a resolutely silent gun that has just been fired and brazenly shout ‘Bang!’
But to me, you are all heroes and have far more guts than I have ever had.
The nearest I have ever come to actual involvement in a production was vicariously when my wife joined our local am-dram society (not around here). They were really terrible and it is no surprise that it has since folded.
She however was a real star and afterwards many people congratulated her on her performance – but then again she was the prompt!