Cast a blast in farce
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.
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.