A Chorus Of Disapproval

written by

Alan Ayckbourn

directed by

Michael Ahmad

performed at

Wimbledon Studio Theatre

June 2000

A Chorus Of Disapproval Poster

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of the play

A man new to a smallish British town joins an amateur theatre company. Once there, he discovers that the drama on stage is quite often nothing compared to what's happening behind the scenes: seduction, romance, faction fighting, and the inevitable jealosy.

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in no particular order

Guy Jones ~ James Derbyshire
Dafydd Llewellyn ~ Charles Bertram
Hannah Llewellyn ~ Kristen Bowditch
Bridget Baines ~ Annette Piper
Mr Ames ~ Simon Davies
Enid Washbrook ~ Georgina Gorham
Linda Washbrook ~ Ruth Blay
Ted Washbrook ~ Michel De Dadelsen
Rebecca Huntley-Pike ~ Fran Allen
Jarvis Huntley-Pike ~ Mike Tierney
Fay Hubbard ~ Kate Mitchell
Ian Hubbard ~ Adam Cain
Crispin Usher ~ Jeff Graves
Doxy ~ Jane Lewis

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in no particular order

Stage Management ~ Cindy Graves
Lighting ~ Sarah Hewitt
Sound ~ Simon Harris
Music ~ Michael Ahmad
Set and Props Construction ~ Mike Tierney
Simon Harris
Programme Design ~ James Derbyshire
Publicity ~ James Derbyshire
Kristen Bowditch
Executive producer ~ Val Foskett
Director ~ Michael Ahmad

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The Story In Pictures

Come to Pendon, a small English village where we find PALOS - the Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society rehearsing their next production - The Beggar's Opera. You join us just as Guy Jones, a new arrival, appears...

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Guy Jones

At the door, he is met by Bridget, Stage Manager for the group...

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Did you want somebody?

Guy Jones is here for an audition to join the society - soon he acquires quite an audience of PALOS members, fascinated by his rendering of 'All Through The Night'. Guy receives a warm welcome - especially from the women!

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Lovely voice, most unusual

The rehearsal continues - they've only got to the bottom of page 1! Ted wanders off stage in completely the wrong direction and returns looking sheepish...

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It takes a month or two just to get him pointing the right way

After the reheasal, Jarvis gives Dafydd his "expert" opinion...

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I think you'll find it might benefit from a bit of gesture, you know...

Then, it's all off to the pub to unwind. Mr Ames gets behind the piano, and Ted leads a bit of a sing-song...

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Fill ev'ry glass, for wine inspires us

... much to the annoyance of the barmaid, Bridget, who soon puts a stop to the merriment.

Crispin and Linda decide to cause some more trouble with the piano...

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You touch that piano again, you're out that door, all right....

Linda and Crispin try their luck once too often, and promptly get thrown out by Bridget...

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Come on. Out I said!
Really? You try and make me

Ted and Enid, Linda's parents aren't happy at all about the company their daughter is keeping...

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We're not happy with this lad at all. I mean we're not...
... Snobbish at all ...
... class conscious. But he's not right...
... he's very wrong...
... he's a very wild lad...

Soon it's closing time, and the PALOS members leave for their homes, only Bridget remains to clean up the pub. But who's this just come through the door - and what's happening here?

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Could this be the end of "Linda and Crispin"?

Dafydd invites Guy back home for a coffee, and to discuss a part in the production for Guy. Guy bumps into Hannah, Dafydd's wife, unexpectedly - Dafydd promised not to bring anyone home! Guy is somewhat smitten...

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You told me you weren't bringing anyone home!

During his visit, Dafydd suggests the part of Crook Fingered Jack. At the next rehearsal, Guy practices his Crooked Finger...

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I've been thinking about him ... and I wondered whether you'd like him with a finger? ... Something like that...

Guy asks Ian whether the finger's too obvious. Ian tells Guy about Dafydd's Sound of Music with trampolining nuns! Ian and Fay like to meet new people, so he invites Guy around for an evening of fun.

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Don't forget your female friend...

Ian goes to the pub, leaving Guy to practise his part. At that moment Jarvis appears, pleased to see Guy "practising his craft". He has a story to tell about that...

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He picks up this handful of sawdust I'd missed, like. And he fetches gummy bowl and makes me eat all that sawdust. Just as it is. Every scrap... Nothing on it. Nor milk, nor sugar.... No matter I was bosses son

Dafydd comes back with bad news - their "Matt of the Mint" has had to withdraw - disaster! Hannah suggests Guy could play the part.

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Forget Crook Finger'd Jack, boy. You're Matt of the Mint. You're a star now. Nearly.

The "evening of fun" arrives. Guy has completely misunderstood Ian, expecting dinner on the table. Fay thinks it's hilarious when Guy announces that his guest is arriving later - it's Dilys, a pensioner of seventy-something from the old peoples' home!

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Very Exciting and Lascivious... No? Viciously Energetic and Lingering...

Guy's twin affairs, the one with Hannah, the other with Fay come to a head in the cafe. "It's either me or her..."

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Oh come on, Hannah. Have a cake.
I've had quite enough cake!

Suddenly, Fay turns up with a package for Guy...

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Give me those pants...

Later, back at rehearsal, Crispin is playing Macheath...

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This lad - great voice. But he moves like something out of Austin Reed's window

Linda, playing Lucy, is having trouble remembering her lines. Bridget is prompting...

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Bridget, for God's sake, tell her the line...

This is all too much for Linda, who breaks down in tears

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Give her a slice of lemon, change her shorts, and get her back on the field

Suddenly, Linda grabs Bridget by the hair, and they're rolling around brawling on the floor...

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Good scrap that. Very convincing. First class!

The girls are dragged away kicking and screaming - but now Crispin decides to have a go at Dafydd... This is the end of Crispin as Macheath - perhaps Guy could replace him?

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I've been longing to have a go at you. Come on...
You've been getting up my nose for weeks now

All this time, Jarvis has been sitting calmly, listening to a tape through his headphones, nearly oblivious to what's going on around him...

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Have a listen to that... That is an actual recording of an 1812 Boulton and Watt beam engine which is still used to this day for pumping water to the summit of the Kennet and Avon canal...

Guy asks Jarvis about a piece of land - Jarvis has a "very interesting little tale about that bit of land".

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That land was purchased by my grandfather... a deeply religious man...

Guy decides it's time to leave Hannah - but it's difficult to talk while Raymond, 'ace' lighting engineer, is focusing the lights. Specially since Dafydd is there too, giving instructions and making them contort to the shapes of the other actors!

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Hannah, dear, be Annie Anderson for a minute would you - she's a little bit taller than you...Guy, could you crouch down to Tony Moffat's size? Would you mind?

Jarvis wants boots but has only been given shoes - so he pinches someone elses!

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I asked specifically for boots. The man's a gaoler - he'd have boots. He'd never have shoes - not in a gaol!

Finally, the performance gets under way. We join the show at the point where Macheath is about to be hanged. He has one last conversation with his two wives - Polly and Lucy.

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Ship yourselves off to the West Indies, where you'll have a fair chance of getting a husband a-piece; or by good luck, two or three, as you like best

As luck would have it, at the last moment, just as the noose is about to be placed around his neck, Guy is reprieved - well we had to have a happy ending didn't we!

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Come, a dance - a dance


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