In this their 80th year The Anonymous Players have come up yet again with some first-class acting in a clever and witty Alan Ayckbourn play.
A Chorus of Disapproval, like so many of Ayckbourn’s plays, uses the ironic humour of repeated and parallel situations to lay bare the often painful reality of human relationships in the here-and-now.
Director Di Prutton has chosen her cast well as here we see the diverse members of the Pendon Operatic Society rehearsing The Beggar’s Opera, with awkwardness never far away – on and off the stage.
Jeff Redfern, Welsh accent perfect, is accomplished as producer Dafydd ap Llewellyn and Andy Cooke is masterful as the gawky and hesitant newcomer Guy Jones.
Ayckbourn skilfully mixes sharp one-liners with collapsing relationships and there is an hilarious scene as Ann Dawson and Chris Slack, the swinging Hubbards, are initially at cross purposes with the uncomprehending Guy.
Bernadette Scully gives a confident performance as Dafydd’s isolated wife Hannah and Anna Cross is a splendidly bolshie Bridget. Kathy and Bob Gemmell, David Chalk and Liz Antcliffe make the most of their supporting roles too.
A play made slightly lengthy by some unnecessary on-stage action leaves us wondering whether we should or should not have sympathy for the final wretchedness of the two-timing Guy and/or for Dafydd who hides his personal issues behind the facade of his busyness with The Beggar’s Opera.
For both communication is a brick wall.