A one act play for eight women, set in a garden. Lady Magnolia has written a powerful morality play - in her own opinion - and calls her cast of ladies together for rehearsal. Unfortunately, they are ill-assorted both as to social standing and histrionic ability. When Iris, the maid, is asked for her frank opinion of their efforts her devastatingly honest criticisms wreck the proceedings. Undismayed, Lady Magnolia decides to rearrange her characters: but she is flabbergasted by a surprise request from the vicar's wife.
The Ockley Dramatic Society is quickly establishing itself as a fertile nursery of young theatrical talent, as was so entertainingly demonstrated in its Autumn Double Bill production.
The first offering of the evening (before the ever-popular fish and chip supper) had a title and a flimsy plot but was really a showcase for the singing and dancing talents of Ockley's younger performers.
Set, perhaps unsurprisingly, in a street, it is the story of a rough youth of the town
who falls in love with the elegant dancer Fifinella (Katrina Charman), 'Starry Princess' from the pantomime, to the great displeasure of her father.
The youth pleads his case impressively with some toe-curling poetry, but Fifinella's toes still manage to sparkle in a delightful balletic display.
There are amusing sub-plots involving silk shoes and sausages and every so often a chorus of rag-and-bone children invade the street in search of rabbit skins.
All very confusing and surreal, but full of good humour and charm.
who wordlessly stole the show last year as Dick Whittington's cat, has now found her tongue as a singing street urchin and gave the appreciative audience a flawless rendition of Cockles and Mussels Alive Alive-O.
There is great promise in this young cast and director
is to be congratulated on bringing such renewed youth and vigour to the Ockley stage.
New talent was also in evidence after the break in Douglas Jackson's Anyone for Drama?.
Lady Magnolia Smythe is rehearsing an artistic play about good versus evil, but newcomer
as Iris the maid, and understudy for all parts, punctures her ladyship's pretentiousness at every turn with great poise.
Lady Magnolia, regally rendered by
remains oblivious as she puts hilariously-cast friends and a token villager or two through their dramatic paces with disastrous results.
is perfect as Satan (alias lady Megan), exuding evil in her warm-up routine as Lady MacBeth, while
poses prettily as the flapper Fiona Farraday, playing a wronged slave girl.
fresh from being pulled out of a ditch after falling off her bicycle on her way to rehearsal, presents a convincing myopic and bedraggled high priestess.
The locals prove troublesome, though, and things start to go wrong when Mrs Higgins, played by
(whose comic characterisation, whether speaking or not, was so funny it was hard to look at her without laughing) refused point blank to play the part of the beggar woman.
agrees to do it and overacts wonderfully at being pathetic and cowed, but proves too portly to get up from the prone position required by the part.
Iris, the maid, delivers the death blow to this farce with a devastatingly honest critique of the peformances.
The day is saved only by the appearance on the scene of the vicar's wife (played by
who, I am told, really is a vicar's wife) offering them all parts more suited to their talents in a play of her own.
All in all, a hugely entertaining evening from a thriving society which seems to promise even better to come.