Alan Ayckbourn’s A Chorus of Disapproval is typical of his multitude of plays in that there is always something unusual and potentially difficult involved in their staging – in this one, all the actors bar one must be able to sing!
Young, handsome, somewhat naive Guy Jones joins the Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society (PALOS) just as they are starting rehearsals for their latest opus, John Gay’s 1728 The Beggar’s Opera. Due to his desirability to two of the female cast and his involvement in a possible upcoming land deal, Jones quickly finds himself moving up the theatrical ladder from bit part to featured roles to playing the lead. The play could almost be subtitled “How to Succeed in Opera Without Really Trying!”
Director Kym Clayton has overcome all the possible staging difficulties with this production, especially having a cast with very fine singing voices, giving the St Jude’s Players a very funny show; and for those involved in amateur theatrics, perhaps an all-too-real slice of life.
In the lead role of Jones, James Spargo gives a masterful performance, showing off his strong singing voice and displaying a delightful sincerity that always has the audience supporting him. Another actor who demonstrates their gentleness and voice brilliantly is Megan Humphries as down-trodden, bored housewife Hannah.
As the Society’s director and self-proclaimed leader, Dafydd Ap Llewellyn, Andrew Clark is absolutely wonderful, from his very authentic and well sustained Welsh accent, right through to his oh-so perfect comic timing and delivery.
Maxine Grubel and Anthony Clapp seem to be a perfect fit as swingers Fay and Ian Hubbard and are hilarious; while Bernadette Abberdan and Lindsay Dunn display dysfunctionality beautifully as the nervously energetic Enid and timid Ted Washbrook respectively. The rest of the cast give strong support, though some do it more musically, rather than in their character portrayal.
St Jude’s production of A Chorus of Disapproval is well worthy of huge approval and is extremely entertaining.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: St Jude’s Hall 444 Brighton Road, Brighton
Season: 14-23 November 2013
Duration: 2 hours 30 mins including interval
Tickets: $7.00 – $19.00
Bookings: 8270 4205 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri)
Disclosure: Kym Clayton is a casual Arts reviewer for Glam Adelaide