Review: Chapel Players strike the right chord with Fifties farce

Tupton Chapel Players present Strike Happy. Pictured are: back row, left to right: Sally Mason, Andrew Bradley, Matthew Joynes, Martyn Draycott, Linda Munton; centre, Beth Logan, Sharon Freeman 'Inserts, Bethany Higgon, Gracie Golden,
Tupton Chapel Players present Strike Happy. Pictured are: back row, left to right: Sally Mason, Andrew Bradley, Matthew Joynes, Martyn Draycott, Linda Munton; centre, Beth Logan, Sharon Freeman 'Inserts, Bethany Higgon, Gracie Golden,

Chapel Players present their final performance of the little known 1950s farce Strike Happy, by Duncan Greenwood, in the schoolroom at Tupton Methodist Church tonight (November 21).

The action of this hectic farce revolves around the strike by Albert Hellewell and fellow workers from the welding shop and a retaliation strike called by his wife, Clara who moves out of the house, refusing to fulfil her household duties. In her place enters two ex-variety actresses, a dodgy civil servant and two flighty young tightrope artists!

Sally Mason and Andrew Bradley, two stalwarts of Chapel Players, excel as the Hellewells with Beth Logan ideally cast as their feisty young daughter, Elsie.

Romantic entanglement is introduced by her innocent, gullible young fiancé George Seegar, played with great skill by newcomer Martyn Draycott, and by his later fling with Rosie Flannel, an actress of dubious fame, played by Linda Munton.

Matthew Joynes delights the audience as Benjamin Tapeworth, the civil servant, particularly in scenes where he appears tipsy, or bathing in a tin bath and prancing unabashed across the stage in faded long johns.

Sharon Freeman plays Mrs Flannel, a loud, excitable but fading ex-actress and mother to Rosie, who excels in her candlelit supper scene with Albert and

later in the play inspecting Albert’s red spots as he lies prostrate and groaning on an old camp bed.

Two teenagers, Bethany Higgon as Yvonne and newcomer Gracie Goldie as Estelle complete the cast as tightrope walkers. Their gymnastic exercises are performed extravagantly just before the final curtain.

All the cast manage the mixture of quick fire dialogue, hectic stage movements and speedy costume changes with great skill and confidence in this play which is directed by John Harrop