Comedy plays are especially hard for amateur casts to get right.
Some go completely over the top, others make a lacklustre attempt, few pitch it perfectly.
Chesterfield College’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors falls into the latter category.
It’s a beautifully judged production in which the comedy is never forced and comes naturally through its wacky characters.
Former student Mark Page is a true star in the making, giving an outstanding performance as Francis Henshall who is serving two masters. His mannerisms and expressions are a joy to watch, from falling flat on his back to his Riverdance efforts to woo Dolly (played by Jessica Stacey).
The masters are characterised by Joe Green in the role of posh Stanley Stubbers who wields a mean cricket bat and Lauren Van Ryssen playing softly-spoken Rachel Crabbe disguised as her brother.
There’s nothing shaky about Tom McManaman’s marvellous send-up of 87-year-old waiter Alfie who staggers across stage holding a tray of cutlery which inevitably goes flying.
Declan Lewis throws heart and soul into his role as aspiring actor Alan and is paired with Lydia Keenan who plays his nice but dim fiancée Pauline.
Shady gangsters and mini-skirted dollybirds set the piece firmly in the Sixties at a time when mobile phones and a female Prime Minister had yet to make a huge impression on the country.
A half-hour delay in the start time for the opening performance last night (Thursday, June 23) while the stage was being prepared didn’t dent the audience’s appetite for this sparkling fare - every comic gem was lapped up with relish.
The show, which is directed by Sue McGeorge, continues at the Rose Theatre today (Friday, June 24) at 2.30pm and 7.30pm,