REVIEW: A Bunch of Amateurs, Frinton Summer Theatre ✭✭✭

Paul T Davies reviews Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s A Bunch of Amateurs playing as part of the Frinton Summer Theatre season.

A Bunch of Amateurs review
The cast of A Bunch of Amateurs. Photo: Chris Davies

A Bunch of Amateurs
Frinton Summer Theatre
27 July 2022
3 Stars
Book Tickets
This has become the perfect play for amateur and professional theatre groups. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s comedy is set in a crumbling village hall that needs to raise money fast and save the community resource and the local theatre group. A fading Hollywood actor is employed, he thinking it’s the RSC, and the fish out of water genre is set. Frinton Summer Theatre is the perfect setting, and there are many amusing moments that comment on the state of the hall and the rehearsal pressures!
A Bunch of Amateurs Frinton
The cast of A Bunch of Amateurs. Photo: Chris Davies
The play is a walking stereotype of the view of amateur theatre, and the characters are very broadly written. It’s clichéd throughout and delivers exactly what you expect, and, if I’m going to be honest, I felt it was underrehearsed and lacked pace, even on the second night. As “star” Jefferson, Nigel Barber trod perfectly the fine line between arrogance and sympathy and was very effective at his portrayal of King Lear as performed by an action movie actor. Alice Redmond was a comedy delight as Mary, especially in the running gag of placing Jefferson in the wrong movies, and Jamie Scott Smith was great fun as handyman Dennis, especially his difficulty in driving the mobility scooter in the auditorium! Elliot James is given just one note to play as amateur egotistical actor Nigel, and I found some of the cast failed to find any depth in their roles, though, admittedly, there isn’t much depth to mine.
There are good moments, with the full house loving it when the jokes landed, and the cast are very good at portraying amateur actors playing Shakespeare in the Lear scenes towards the end. But no company I’ve been in, amateur or professional, uses different editions of the script to rehearse from- you use one set so everyone is literally on the same page. This lack of attention to detail underlined that more could have been achieved, and this production felt like a bit of a missed opportunity.
Playing until 30th July 2022
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