On Saturday night, I went to see Breakaleg Productions’ performance of Lockdown and Panto in Little Grimley. This was the first amateur production I have seen since lockdown restrictions lifted – Breakaleg were clearly quick off the mark to get back to rehearsals and pull everything together in a short space of time.
The two one-act plays, the latest entries in the Little Grimley series by David Tristram, focus on the amateur theatre group and their attempts to put on their latest show. Lockdown in Little Grimley sees the am-dram group confronted by facemasks, toilet roll hoarders and banana cake as they try to put on a show during the pandemic.
Gordon (Anthony Butler) has big plans to celebrate the NHS with his new show The Phantom of the Opera(ting Theatre), although the cast aren’t so sure. Margaret (Amy Adele) is outraged at being cast as a plastic surgery patient, whilst Joyce (Nicola Marshall) struggles with learning lines due to being “dyslexic in one eye”.
The first act was incredibly funny, but not without drama, and some touching moments towards the end of the act saw the characters realise how much they all meant to each other despite their arguments.
Panto in Little Grimley sees the group change tactics as they try to appeal to a wider audience by putting on an adult pantomime (entitled “Pussy in boots”….)
The entire thing turns into a farce as characters end up with broken legs, broken lights and broken horse costumes. Throughout it all, banana-eating Bernard (Fraser Smith with impeccable comic timing, as always) provides witty commentary, to the other characters’ annoyance.
This production, directed by Deborah White, was incredibly funny, and served to remind me exactly why I love amateur theatre (although the scene where they all struggle to find a night when everyone is free for rehearsal felt a bit too real…) A brilliant production and I can’t wait to see what Breakaleg have to offer next.
Breakaleg Productions are based in Wombwell/Rotherham, and are currently on the lookout for new members. More information can be found at their website www.break-aleg-productions.com
Tom Morley, September 2021