Support act for injured players

Neil Beards and Olivia Green in Noises Off
Neil Beards and Olivia Green in Noises Off
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by Gay Bolton

CROCKED thespians are overcoming the odds to ensure that their show will go on.

Two members of Hasland Theatre Company are nursing injuries suffered in off-stage recreational activites.

But pals are rallying around to ensure that next week’s production of the farce Noises Off goes ahead – with the injured pair among the cast.

Director Steve Cowley said: “The play is very much an ensemble piece. So if an injury or mishap happens to one cast member the whole team work harder to help and support the injured cast member whilst finding the best resolve for the play at hand.”

Neil Beards, who lives in Ashgate, Chesterfield, was the first victim, breaking a toe during a badminton match in which his opponents included director Steve. “Neil managed to play a superb (almost diving) back-handed shot that left me rooted to my spot and even won the point for his team,” said Steve. “As Neil landed, he felt pain in his foot. but managed to carry on playing, winning the points and games for his team.

Broken toe

“However still in pain, Neil went off to A&E and discovered that he had in fact broken his toe.

“Neil’s badminton matches are still on hold but he has been rehearsing throughout regardless,” said Steve.

“Rehearsals sometimes left me wincing in sympathetic pain as the often frantic nature of the play would take cast members flying past within millimetres of Neil’s toe. Thankfully, the cast have been so controlled and disciplined in what they do that no further toes were broken or injured.”

Olivia Brooks, of Brampton, Chesterfield, was the second victim – injuring a limb in a zumba dance class during the Easter holidays. Steve said: “During the class she felt a snap to her leg and tore her calf muscles. Olivia returned to rehearsals on crutches but ready to carry on.

“Naturally we are looking at ways we can work with Olivia to protect her leg, get her up and down the stairs as well as in and out of the doors.”

Noises Off, which focuses on a group of thespians attempting to stage a sex comedy, was originally intended to be staged on a two-storey set. Said Steve: “Fitting the production into Hasland Playhouse and making sure the timing is just right has been a challenge but fun and satisfying all at the same time.

“The mishaps, injuries and obstacles have just made the cast and crew more determined as well as enhancing their performances to an even higher level than normal.”

l Noises Off, by Michael Frayn, will be staged at Hasland Playhouse from Monday to Saturday, May 16-21. Tickets cost £7.50; to book, call (01246) 272271.