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A BUNCH OF AMATEURS

By Ian Hislop and Nick Newman

From an original story by Jonathan Gershfield & John Ross

"The acerbic wit of Hislop and Newman metamorphoses into some hugely funny one-liners..." The Stage

****"... a laugh-a-minute." Mail On Sunday

***** " This terrific comedy packed with killer comic dialogue has a great story" Whatsonstage

“…the cast of seven are game and skilful... in Caroline Leslie’s spirited production.” The Times

“…this new cracking stage version... fizzes along with verve and energy.” British Theatre Guide

“Cue an evening of raging, pathos, bathos, and fine old-fashioned farcical fun.” theatreCat

Thu 22 May 2014 - Sat 28 Jun 2014

In association with Trademark films

Trademark films

Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero, Jefferson Steele, arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford only to find that this is not the birthplace of the Bard but a sleepy Suffolk village and the cast are a bunch of amateurs. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested by the enthusiastic amateur thespians - who are not averse to a spot of ego, vanity and insecurity themselves. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself and his relationships with other people… along with his inner Lear!

This production contains occasional bad language.

See production photos here

Read Assistant Director Neil Bull's blogs from the rehearsal room here

You can listen to an extended interview with writers Ian Hislop and Nick Newman on the Theatre Voice website by clicking here 

Running Times
Act 1 - 
55 minutes
Interval - 20 minutes
Act 2 - 60 minutes

Directed by Caroline Leslie
Designed by Tom Rogers
Lighting designed by Tim Lutkin
Composer Paul Herbert

Emily Bowker               Lauren Bell
Eleanor Brown             Jessica Steele
Michael Hadley            Nigel Dewbury
Jackie Morrison            Dorothy Nettle
Sarah Moyle                 Mary Plunkett
Mitchell Mullen             Jefferson Steel
Damian Myerscough    Denis Dobbins
 

 

The Times

 “…the cast of seven are game and skilful and sing beautifully in the snatches of Shakespeare songs that bookend scenes in Caroline Leslie’s spirited production.”

Read the full review here

The Mail on Sunday ****

“…a laugh-a-minute.”

“…the play fits glove-like into the weeny Watermill, principally because the theatre is where this light-as-a-feather farce belongs, for it is all about the transforming power of theatre.”

“Deliciously stuffed with Shakespeare…and lovely sung snippets from the Fool’s wistful, wise songs, the play works because the actors in Caroline Leslie’s perfectly pitched production take their preposterous characters desperately seriously. Which is the only way farce can function with any fun.”

WhatsonStage *****

“…terrific comedy packed with killer comic dialogue has a great story, with plenty of twists and turns.”

“The Hislop/Newman partnership... show their class in brilliant comic riffs with a joke in every line topped only by the next one, all delivered with perfect precision by this fine cast.”

“Designer Tom Rogers rises magnificently to the challenge of fitting multiple sets into the space…all perfectly lit with changing colours by Tim Lutkin.”

“The evening is a total and mounting delight.”

Read the full review here 

theatreCat

 “Cue an evening of raging, pathos, bathos, and fine old-fashioned farcical fun.”

“They have also, with oddly moving effect, used the Fool’s songs from Lear, set by Paul Herbert, to cover with rueful aptness the scene-changes.”

“Hislop and Newman are human enough to let in real emotions, not to mention sentimentalities about the redemptive power of theatre ( with which I of course concur). But they’re savvy enough to temper both with sharply funny bathos.”

“There’s a lot of love gone into this production, under Caroline Leslie’s skilled direction”.


Read the full review here

The Stage

 “… a delightfully funny take on professional meets amateur theatre. The acerbic wit of Hislop and Newman metamorphoses into some hugely funny one-liners verging on farce in the best possible way.”

“I have to confess to a degree of hesitation prior to seeing this world stage premiere at the Watermill. However, with the proven writing talents of Hislop and Newman and the Watermill’s highly respected reputation as a leading production house, I need not have worried.”


Read the full review here

British Theatre Guide

 “…a hilarious witty comedy that had the audience laughing out loud from the very beginning.”

“…this new cracking stage version... fizzes along with verve and energy.”


“There are some beautiful songs from Lear’s Fool composed by Paul Herbert and Tom Roger’s set is impressively inventive.”

“Directed with skill and aplomb by Caroline Leslie, this is a thoroughly enjoyable production and the audience loved it.”


Read the full review here

Newbury Theatre

 “Judging by the audience reaction, director Caroline Leslie has created a very popular production.”

“The Watermill is an ideal setting for the barn where the production takes place”


Read the full review here