I live in London and every now and then I am invited down to Sedlescombe for the weekend to stay with some great friends.
And I love it, long walks, pub lunches and all that country stuff that I miss living in the big smoke.
So when I was told on arrival last Thursday that we had tickets to Sedlescombe Players’ latest production, the farce Cash on Delivery I admit my heart sank.
My friends have raved about their shows before but I put it down to misguided loyalty – like supporting your children in their school play – we all say it was amazing when it clearly wasn’t. But I feigned enthusiasm and we set off. I was surprised to see the place was packed and enjoyed the café theatre-style seating (at least I could drink).
The curtains opened to a well-deserved round of applause for the set, and then I confess to a Simon Cowell/Piers Morgan moment when Susan Boyle started to sing. It was brilliant - and very, very funny. The production was slick and well paced and the actors beautifully cast. I will mention the extraordinary energy of the two lead characters, played by Stephen Whitehead and Morris Abbott, but to be honest there wasn’t a single weak link among them.
I do know enough about live theatre however, to appreciate good direction when I see it and so praise must go to Tara Buchanan, who clearly guided her talented team of actors to something that was anything BUT amateur and could never be described as a village hall production.
The belly laughs that filled the hall were proof enough that everyone was enjoying themselves. As I left two hours later, with a face and stomach that ached from laughing, I overheard an elderly gentleman comment “Better than half the stuff you get in the West End.” And I found myself agreeing………