From left: Tracey Christiansen as Joyce, Frank Remiatte as Gordon, Val Lefrère as Margaret and Alan Smith as Bernard
From left: Tracey Christiansen as Joyce, Frank Remiatte as Gordon, Val Lefrère as Margaret and Alan Smith as Bernard

Comedy double bill performed by The Algarveans

Little Grimley pulls it off!

One of the hardest type of play to perform as an amateur actor is a comedy in which the actors portray incompetent amateurs.

In David Tristram’s ‘Little Grimley’ comedy double bill, the set builder Bernard is allergic to being on stage; Joyce claims she finds scripts difficult because she is dyslexic in one eye; the diva of the society, Margaret, sees herself as a cut above the rest; whilst Gordon is the one who somehow struggles to keep the society alive through all adversities.

In ‘Last Tango’ performed by The Algarveans in Lagoa last week, Gordon writes a play about sex as “that sells tickets!” However, disaster is in the offing. The packed audience are underwhelmed by the show until Margaret saves the day by flashing her right tit!

In ‘Lockdown’, comedy abounds with chairs precisely two metres apart, Bernard nicking all the toilet rolls and Joyce appearing in a bee-keeper’s hat! Gordon’s second play is about love in an NHS hospital “Phantom of the Opera-ting Theatre”. Profits should all go to the NHS but, during a rehearsal, Bernard has a seizure and is rushed to hospital – so the NHS ends up worse off as the show is abandoned.

All four members of the cast embrace and enhance the hilarious and chaotic disasters.

Tracey Christiansen as Joyce is the dopey lover of musicals who dreams of starring in ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ but can’t ‘get it’ that their headcount means that ‘Two Brides for One Brother’ would be their limit. Scenes of her getting carried away singing in the bath in front of the vicar, in crisis desperate for the loo, and telling of the blue whale’s two-and-a-half-metre penis had us all in stitches.

Val Lefrère portrayed the exuberant OTT diva Margaret excellently. Overacting to perfection. The regular spats between her and Bernard came off well, to the point we expected her to get physical at any moment.

Alan Smith as Bernard, the lugubrious set builder, goes into action noisily while the others try to rehearse. This is a very difficult part which Alan pulled off in spades. He is such a versatile actor it’s hard to believe that it was he who played The Dame in the recent Panto.

Gordon – the lynchpin between the performers – has to keep the tempo moving. Frank Remiatte tapped into his wide theatrical experience to do just that. As director of the foursome, he kept up the energy and, even between lines, his actions maintained the comedy.

Angela Theobold, to direct these plays, needed a keen sense of humour, and it shone through these two gems. Her casting was impeccable which, as we know, is half the battle.

A very rewarding evening all round. Well done, The Algarveans.

Review by David Butler-Cole