Text Box: ORMSKIRK THEATRE COMPANY

None the Wiser

By Anthony Booth

Reviews

 

NODA

The “Ormskirk Theater Company” presented us with a very enjoyable evening of comedy entertainment that included two one act plays directed by Alexandra Harvey and Charlotte Taylor, these were “Non-the Wiser” by Anthony Booth and “The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish” by David Tristram.

The first play was an amusing comedy called “Non-the Wiser” by Anthony Booth, written for seven female cast members but in this case the characters were portrayed by six women and one man playing a women. As the play begins we are introduced to five women dressed as nuns but it was soon apparent that the black habits were a cover-up and they were actually operating a successful shoplifting racket. We meet them in the sitting room of the so-called Stonegate Convent where the nuns are discussing the day’s activities and items they have stolen, but then their criminal conspiracy is put at risk of discovery when two nuns knock at the door and ask to stay at the convent, Thinking the visitors are real nuns our criminal gang are dismayed and try not to act suspiciously they also undertake activities such as helping out at fetes and jumble sales around the community to help alleviate any questions. However these newcomers are not what they seem and subsequently confusion breaks out leading to some very funny situations.  There were some very funny lines in this play and diction was very good meaning dialogue could be followed easily but I did find the pace a little slow at times which meant some comedy opportunities were missed, however overall it was an entertaining production

For the second half of the evening the company presented a superb entertaining production of “The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish” featuring two very fine actors Pat Baker and Gary Simpson. We were invited into the world of a board of middle-age couple who both escape into their own fantasy worlds in order to get through their dreary lives and unexciting relationship. Pat and Gary worked very well together and showed their experience and virtuosity by playing a number interesting characters from different scenarios and speaking in various accents conjured up from their imagination with hilarious results. By the end of the play the couple realizes they are both dreaming and living the same fantasies and their relationship is rekindled. Congratulation must go to both actors and directors Alexandra Harvey and Charlotte Taylor for an outstanding enjoyable experience.

The same set with a few tweaks and the addition of Orca the goldfish for the second play was used for both plays and was more than suitable for both productions and the size of this intimate venue.

This was another very enjoyable entertaining evening from the “Ormskirk Theater Company” Congratulations to all involved including front of house who made us very welcome. Thank you for inviting me I look forward to your next production.

 

Ormskirk Champion

Two classic one-act comedies performed in the intimate surroundings of the theatre above Disraeli’s pub in Church Street, Ormskirk.
‘None the Wiser’, which opened the show, is about a gang of five women shoplifters who disguise themselves as nuns as a cover for their nefarious activities. So far so good until two new nuns turn up, wanting shelter at their ‘convent’.
This play reminded me so much of the old post-War black and white comedies. Alistair Sim in drag would have been perfect as the Mother Superior, played here by Paul Falcone, accompanied by a package of suitably veiled Rank starlets.
In the absence of any Rank starlets, Ann Todd, Teri Bennett, June Dowd, Alexandra Harvey, Charlotte Taylor and Rosanna Harrison-Pope filled their roles admirably.
The action could have been slicker but there was a clever turn in the plot and the enthusiastic cast played the humour for all it was worth and it set the scene well for the second half offering, ‘The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish’.
Don’t be put off by the title. This was, without a doubt, the funniest play I have ever seen. The author, David Tristram, wrote the classic ‘Little Grimley’ series but this was even better.
Bored with their humdrum, everyday routine, the pedantic Henry and his wishful romantic wife, Alice, are a middle aged couple who indulge in fantasies to brighten up their lives.
Witnessed only by their pet goldfish, and the audience, Henry, at various times, turns into an actor friend of Sir Laurence Olivier, an American football hero and the President of the USA
While Alice is lying on a foreign beach longing to be massaged (and rogered) by this suntanned beach Romeo, wearing shorts so brief that Alice is moved to point out the potential emergence of his left testicle, he suddenly changes into Henry, your typical British holidaymaker (the ‘foreign’ land turns out to be Wales), in floppy hat and equally floppy shorts, trying valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to erect a deck chair. ‘I’m not going to ask a Welshman help me get it up’ he yells xenophobically.
The lady beside me nearly fell of her seat laughing.
The script was sharp and concise, packed with one-liners and acute observations about life.
Gary Simpson and Pat Baker both deserve Oscars for the way they so quickly and so often changed characters, costumes and accents and the chemistry between the two of them positively sizzled.

Star Ratings:
ORCA 10/10.Two brilliant performances, great chemistry, hilarious script.
NONE THE WISER 7/10. Ealing comedy at its best