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Ian Hislop’s hit comedy opens this week

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Posted on: 7 May 2022

When a Suffolk amateur dramatic company, The Stratford Players, want to save their theatre they invite Hollywood actor, Jefferson Steele, to play King Lear. It’s a marriage made in hell. Steele thinks he’s going to the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, and the locals have entirely overestimated Steele’s suitability for a Shakespearian role.

Russell Vincent, last seen at the Abbey Theatre in David Hare’s Skylight, plays Steele. Russell says, ‘Have you seen the famous actor Jefferson Steel in anything recently? Maybe you’ve seen him in a Noel Coward comedy, Present Laughter or Hay Fever? Or was it Waiting for Godot? Or perhaps you caught him in Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular? No, you didn’t! You didn’t see him in any of those because Jefferson Steel doesn’t do that stuff. He’s an action hero. He’d be more likely to do something called Present Slaughter or Slay Fever. There would be No Time to Wait for God or you might catch him in Absurd to find a Person Lying Dead in a Pool of Blood.’

The script, by comedy writing duo Ian Hislop (Private Eye, Have I Got News For You) and Nick Newman (Murder Most Horrid, The Wipers Times, The Harry Enfield Show) will have you laughing in the aisles at the quick-fire dialogue and delicious one-liners.

Russell adds, ‘Comedy is often about a series of characters put in an absurd situation, whilst drama might portray characters on some kind of emotional journey. A Bunch of Amateurs is a bit different – the situation for Jefferson is certainly strange, but it is he who goes on a journey; it’s a comedy for us but a drama for him. Despite how much he might enjoy the trappings of celebrity, Jefferson knows deep down that the nature of stardom is absurd, and it takes a bunch of British amateurs to remind him of that.’

Despite the title of our upcoming play, the Company of Ten is, in fact, run to professional standards, show-casing outstanding quality theatre to the local community, at affordable prices, with everything from family classics to razor-sharp contemporary theatre, local writing and world premieres.

We are always looking for enthusiastic people to join us, so if you are interested in any aspect of theatre, from stage lighting to prop making, set building, costume, stage management or acting, have a look at our pages here.

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