A Bunch of Amateurs
A BUNCH OF AMATEURS - Ian HIslop & Nick Newman
Wyllotts Theatre, 11th – 15th June 2019
From Joy Mather - Director
‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ – well, that’s something we all proudly profess to be! And Ian Hislop – with Nick Newman – has written a play that will warm the heart of every amateur actor and will surely result in much laughter from our audiences. The authors note that ‘ A Bunch of Amateurs’ is ‘a love-letter to amateur dramatics’ – a world in which they are both very familiar from school productions to hilarious village hall Victorian melodrama!
The story - a fading Hollywood American actor, Jefferson Steele , who arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find that this is not Shakespeare’s birthplace but a sleepy Suffolk village. No Kenneth Branagh or Judi Dench – just a cast of amateurs trying to save their theatre from developers. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the the enthusiastic am-dram thespians. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself – along with his inner Lear!
The action takes place mainly in the barn which the Stratford Players use for rehearsals and performances of their amateur productions.
‘Deliciously stuffed with Shakespeare – a laugh-a-minute’ **** The Mail on Sunday
‘Terrific comedy packed with killer comic dialogue – plenty of twists and turns’ ***** Whatsonstage
The cast is four women and three men - apart from one teenager, ages can vary from 30s ever upwards!
JEFFERSON STEELE - Played by Nick Reed . A fading Hollywood star who is arrogant, insecure, brash, gauche, demanding, vulnerable and ultimately aware of his own absurdity.
DOROTHY NETTLE - Played by Christine Le Couilliard . Director of the Stratford Players and the moving force behind keeping the theatre alive. Her sweet and accommodating manner conceals her inner steel.
JESSICA STEELE - Played by Victoria Polydorou . Jefferson's teenage daughter, who has been neglected by her Hollywood star father and now wants to make him pay for it.
NIGEL DEWBURY - Played by Nick Vause . Solicitor and leading light of the Stratford Players. Pompous, stuck-up and self-regarding, he believes he is the star of the show, and should play all the leading roles. He also fancies his romantic chances with Dorothy.
MARY PLUNKETT - Played by Catherine Little, Owner of the Rectory bed and breakfast. Jolly, generous and an unashamedly adoring Jefferson Steele fan -- although somewhat confused about which roles he played in his films, and how keen he is on her.
DENIS DOBBINS - Played by Jorge Frutuoso , Handyman and village Mr. Fixit. Avuncular though slightly dull, Denis is star-struck by Jefferson and fancies heading up his entourage of one.
LAUREN BELL - Played by Lorraine Bottomley, Thirty-something marketing executive former physiotherapist and the sponsor's wife. Passionate about the arts and smarter than her husband allows her to be, she's treated as a bimbo because of her looks.
JOURNALISTS - We only hear them offstage.