Saturday, January 29, 2011

4: A Funny Thing

Last weekend we were blessed with beautiful weather for the Remarkable Theatre performances of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gardens in the Queenstown Botanic Gardens. As it was promenade theatre, we were chaperoned from scene to scene by the 'master' of ceremonies, Guy de Guide - aka Steve Wilde - and his single entendres; a 'firm' favourite among the crowds.

First up (it's incredible how addictive this is...) we had Hello written by Peter Cook and performed by Mike Legge and Shaun Vining in disturbing frisbee golf attire.

Next we performed a scene from Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. This was a stunning-looking scene as the three men (Jason Fullerton, Sam Farr and David Oakley) were decked out in straw boaters and striped blazers, rowing across the pond in a ridiculously small vessel before disembarking for a picnic lunch.

Mike and Shaun returned to perform Ornithology (also by Peter Cook) in which the persistent ornithologist painstakingly trains the local ducks to perform tricks - such as eating bread.

The three men got out of the boat and entertained us with a rendition of Noel Coward's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, choreographed with precision by Alice Stewart.

Our very own version of the Women's Institute flouted the rules in an extract from Calendar Girls, performed by Jo Blick, Fee Stephenson, Jane Robertson, Rachael Gerard, Kathleen Brentwood and Melanie Grindell.

More Mike and Shaun (and Pete and Dud) with some Interesting Facts...

...before a change of pace and style courtesy of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Jill Derbie, Sam Farr, Hannah Mason, David Cantwell, David Oakley, Kathleen Brentwood and Melanie Grindell.

I combined a selection of excerpts to present a 'wedding suite', kicked off with a scene from Secret Bridesmaids' Business with Jill Derbie playing harassed mother of the Bridezilla (Fee Stephenson), while Hannah Mason and Jane Robertston were the glamorous bridesmaids.

The confident groom (David Oakley) calmed his nervous best man (Sam Farr) by singing, Bring Me Sunshine as you do.

As Vicar, Shaun Vining bumbled his way through Ben Elton and Richard Curtis' speech from Four Weddings and a Funeral, making sure that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

Jane Robertson explained (in song) why she was happy to be Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride...

...before David Cantwell delivered the most cringe-worthy Father of the Bride speech ever from A Secret Policeman's Ball (which, incidentally was the audience favourite - judging from the feedback forms).

It was left to Rachael Gerard to cheer up the mood like a crazed children's entertainer singing Happy Talk.

Thank you to cast and crew - you were all wonderful. And thank you to everyone who came to see the show. I hope you enjoyed it!

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