I’m starting to enjoy amateur dramatics. Not to be roped into the stress of performing myself but instead to be willingly subjected to the supremely brave efforts of part-time actors and supporters of varying talents, who most of the time don’t take themselves too seriously.
The attractions are obvious: you get a low-cost, local, often fairly exclusive (!) evening of entertainment, with lots to talk about afterwards.
As soon as I saw mention of Fat-headed Chunks’ performance of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” I knew I wanted to see it – who could refuse? A touring show covering lots of small village halls across north Cumbria, starring some faces starting to be familiar to me and the bonus of one old friend I’ve known for a long time.
It’s not everyone that appreciates this sort of entertainment. For a companion I have my dear aunt who has been a supporter of all kinds of amateur and professional performances – although she obviously prefers Bryn Terfel to Bon Jovi.
She indulges me sometimes; it was me that wanted to go and see the unique “Miser! The musical” which was about the life of a rich 18th century Carlisle woman – set to original music. I enjoyed it a lot, and it was certainly memorable, although after 4 hours of very short scenes (DSW*: “here’s that rug again”) we were truly ready to go home. I think they may have shortened it a bit after that, so if it’s ever on again you should go see it (not sure it’s strictly amateur but certainly low budget).
So last night we braved the hard frost and ventured out to St James Parish Hall in Denton Holme, Carlisle. The tickets we bought were carried about 3 feet until we had to hand them back, then there were programmes and t-shirts and raffle tickets. It was thankfully nice and warm for the audience of approx 20 folk.
Memorable Chunks snippets :
- The actor taking the lead part was taken ill so they drafted in someone from Preston who was luckily a very good actor, so we quickly forgot he was carrying a cribbed script hidden beneath his handkerchief. He reminded me of Phil Davis – “Shake me up Judy!”
- The narration was from behind the stage through a loudspeaker and the acoustics of the church hall meant that it was unfortunately very muffled, which prompted a DSW* – “ I’ve got a new hearing aid you know”.
- One of my oldest friends was playing the part of Bob Cratchitt (aka Kermit) – he could be the best actor in the world and I sadly wouldn’t be able to forget it’s him on stage and not a Victorian clerk
- Same friend donning a curly blonde wig and returning as Fezziwig set me off into a giggling fit because it reminded me of the ones set out in Tullie House for folk to dress up as Georgian ladies – in fact it maybe actually was one
- The wonderfully suave am-dram-totty Will Tillotson – (DSW*-“oh I do like him”) playing the ghost of Christmas present dressed in what I discovered was his own tartan dressing gown decorated with lots of little Christmas presents, plus holly crown – this guy is not just an actor, he is an Act-OrrrrRR!!!
- The inventive transformation of the door into an upright bed
- The guy playing the nephew in a Boris Johnson wig
- The interval raffle where we had the chance to win beer, chocolate or a pineapple, and while we won the pineapple another woman won both the beer and the chocolate, so that’s her Sunday evening planned.
An interesting evening being royally entertained by Fatheaded Chunks, if you get the chance you should see one of their gazillion shows across north Cumbria this season … and who knows perhaps you too might win a pineapple.
Disclaimer: I’m not a proper drama reviewer, obv
*DSW = Dot’s Stage Whisper