Friday 13 May 2016

"Caught In The Net" by Ray Cooney
Beeston Players

Following up last year's production of "Business Affairs" with another brilliant, yet little known farce, this time from the pen of King of the Farce, Ray Cooney, The Beeston Players do what they do very very well; produce brilliant comedies.

John Smith is a bigamist and his two wives are given the runaround from Mr Smith who has a son, Gavin, with Barbara Smith and a daughter, Vicki, with Mary Smith.Via the internet Vicki and Gavin get chatting and they find that they have quite a bit in common, surprisingly. Neither of the teenagers have the slightest idea that they have the same father, and set out to meet each other.

Well, John can't possibly have his eighteen year old secret discovered so he has to do all he can to stop the pair meeting. He engages the help of his lodger, Stanley Gardener, who only popped by because he was on the way to taking his father on holiday to Felixstowe, and the fun really starts! Throw into the mix, Mr gardener, Stanley's father and absolute chaos ensues.

And just when you think the chaos and confusion can't get any worse, there's an extra twist right at the end!

Director Lloyd Delderfield has put together a brilliant cast, made up of seasoned Beeston Players actors and newcomers, making their debut for the Players. Lloyd keeps the action rolling at a nice pace and the chaos constant, and with that, comes the laughs galore.

Samuel Williams (John Smith) is excellent as the two timing bigamist in his plight to keep the two families, one in Wimbledon and the other in Streatham; His knockabout comedy timing put to good use in this play.

Jill Griffiths (Mary Smith) makes her debut here and, while at the start her words were a little quiet, she got over this and she soon started to project and that's when we managed to get the lovely, gentler comedy feel for her role, although she looked a little too handy with that knife in Act Two. You could see Jill's confidence grow as she started to get the laughs and by the end you'd have not guessed that she was a newcomer.

Sue Frost (Barbara Smith), is a little gem of understated comedy, Sue always manages to make her roles seem like second nature to her. A little lady who delivers big laughs.

Noreen Boyle (Vicki Smith), is a newcomer to me; i can't remember seeing her in anything before but she has such an air of naturalness about her acting. As the teenage girl who falls for her, unbeknown to her, step-brother, she is everything that any father who has daughters, would recognise. Bolshy and unlistening and she knows best. a lovely character performance.

Kai Robbins (Gavin Smith) is also a newcomer to me, although for some reason the name rings a bell is cool and determined to meet this young girl he has so much in common with. Again a very natural performer and a name to look out for in the world of community theatre, along with Noreen.

Gary Frost (Stanley Gardener) is the absolute linchpin in this play. His character keeps the balls well and truly up in the air without dropping any, or losing any to Mary (you'll have to see, or know the play to understand what i mean there). A masterclass in comedy was witnessed win this play with Gary, and with, what seems like the majority of the script at times, he did an absolute cracking job with the lines and the comedy facial expressions.

And last, but definitely not least, Alistair Hudson (Mr Gardener), the elder member of the cast who had the most slapstick of roles, Several times being knocked to the floor, he's very agile. Imagine Grandad from "Only Fools And Horses" and you'll have a pretty good idea of the role. Some brilliant confused lines for Alistair to deliver and a joy to watch.

Everyone involved at Beeston Players productions are such lovely people as well. From front of house staff to the actors themselves, they really do care about their audience and want to give everyone a night of entertainment that they won't forget. Attitude like this is bound to reap rewards and keep old customers as well as new faces coming back for more.

Two days of practically sold out evenings show what brilliant fun this play is and the draw that Beeston Players have in the community. I couldn't see one face that left Roundhill School which didn't have a smile on it as they left.

"Caught In The Net" is a wonderfully funny production with some very talented people on stage, so if you need your spirits lifted, why not pop along to Beeston and exercise those chuckle muscles.

One more show for you to get your tickets for, which is the Saturday matinee on 14 May 2016 at Roundhill School in Beeston. With the popularity of the Beeston Players shows, I think that they will have to add a Saturday evening show for their November play.

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