Clash of events hits last-night audience

CHEERY CREW: Victoria Crooks, James Clark, Roger Plank, Emily Upton and Liam Shaw, back row left to right, with Pam Booth and Vicky Harris in front
CHEERY CREW: Victoria Crooks, James Clark, Roger Plank, Emily Upton and Liam Shaw, back row left to right, with Pam Booth and Vicky Harris in front

Barbecue weather may have been an apt climate for Hathersage Players’ play about an outdoor party, but there were plenty of counter attractions to entertain villagers on the last night of the show.

The Blades’ crunch match at Wembley, the Eurovision Song Contest, two coach loads of residents away at the races and a big 40th birthday party to put grandparents on babysitting duty hit audience numbers.

Only 40 spectators turned up to the village Memorial Hall on Saturday, less than half the amount who attended the previous night.

But this was a party - and the cast was determined that nothing was going to rain on its parade, not even forgotten lines, a jumbled-up sentence and fits of giggles.

Party Piece, by Richard Harris, was a production of firsts. Parish vicar Katie Tupling made her debut as play director while Vicky Harris and 16-year--old Liam Shaw performed in their first play for the company. All three did a sterling job in their respective roles.

The action revolved around a disastrous housewarming barbecue, hosted by a doctor who was obsessed with shrubbery and stereo speakers, and his wife who whittled about frozen food. The roles were played by James Clark and Victoria Crooks, the former causing much mirth as a moustachioed Ginger Rogers, in blonde wig, rubber gloves and pinny, and the latter, dressed as Fred Astaire, twinkling throughout as the twitchy hostess whose invited guests fail to turn up.

On the opposite side of the garden fence, Roger Plank and Pamela Booth generated lots of laughs as the colourful Cockney geezer and his interfering mother.

Star performance of the night came from Emily Upton who revelled in her role as the provocatively dressed visitor who became more flirty as the wine flowed.

The only disappointment was that there weren’t more guests at this last-night party.

* Hathersage Players have renewed calls for new members, especially men, to join them. Anyone interested should call secretary Becky Winstanley on 01433 650328.

GAY BOLTON