Cast a blast in farce

The Tribune (NZ) - - REVIEWS | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Last of the Sum­mer Wine by Roy Clarke

Di­rected for Feild­ing Lit­tle Theatre Play­ers by Peter Do­herty

Feild­ing Lit­tle Theatre, June 3 – 18

Re­viewed by Richard Mays

A treat is in store for fans of the long-run­ning Brit TV sit­com Last

of the Sum­mer Wine. Ac­tu­ally, this treat ex­tends to those who may not be fa­mil­iar with the pop­u­lar BBC series that ran for an as­tound­ing and record-break­ing 37 years, from 1973 – 2010.

This is a slick, flu­ent and en­ter­tain­ing pro­duc­tion that works well on the con­fined Feild­ing Lit­tle Theatre stage.

The en­dur­ing premise sees three re­tired men un­en­cum­bered by wives, work, or other such wor­ries, able to in­dulge their idio­syn­cra­sies and whim­si­cal pec­ca­dil­los.

Se­nior delin­quents Nor­man Clegg, ‘Foggy’ De­whurst and ‘Compo’ Sim­monite are out to make the most of any and all op­por­tu­ni­ties to over­turn the usual pre­con­cep­tions of how older peo­ple are sup­posed to be­have.

The 2010 stage script by series cre­ator Roy Clarke, sees Phil White’s Foggy, the starchy mil­i­tary man who has reached a non­com­mis­sioned rank far be­low his pre­ten­sions, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the meek, ea­ger to please and com­pro­mis­ing Clegg, played by Dan Ma­teer.

Well pitched as these roles are, it’s Tony Vin­cent’s por­trayal of the like­able child­like ‘scruf­fian’ Compo that adds the ic­ing to this care­fully con­cocted ca­per.

Typ­i­cal farce, the plot is as dumb as a box of hair. For some rea­son, the trio end up try­ing to pro­tect the iden­tity of a flasher who is stalk­ing their York­shire vil­lage, while Foggy is at­tempt­ing to woo Con­stance, long-term pre­fi­ance´ of con­sta­ble Gil­ford Bew­mont, as well as keep­ing the free-wheel­ing Compo at arms length.

Tak­ing place in the one-set won­der of Clegg’s din­ing room with Mike Price’s flasher pop­ping in and out – as it were, Luke McIn­doe’s bike-rid­ing, bu­gle-blow­ing bobby, adds a bit of buf­foon­ish blither to the bother.

A de­light­ful cameo in the con­trived chaos, ruf­fled stock­ings and all, is Val Ot­t­away as Nora Batty. The dame for­mi­da­ble is self-ap­pointed chap­er­one and match-maker to Caro­line Sher­will’s Con­stance.

Last of the Sum­mer Wine is a clas­sic piece of com­edy Peter Do­herty and his ex­pe­ri­enced cast carry off with aplomb.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

Tony Vin­cent’s Compo (left) and Dan Ma­teer’s Clegg (right) try to ma­noeu­vre Luke McIn­doe’s Gil­ford Bew­mont away from mak­ing any star­tling dis­cov­er­ies in the Feild­ing Lit­tle Theatre pro­duc­tion of Last of the Sum­mer Wine.

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