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Backstage Farce

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An amateur dramatic group meet to prepare for opening night of their performance of the farce ‘A Bit of Slap and Tickle’.

As we meet the actors we learn about their relationships, we discover who is nervous, who is confident, who is a terrible actor and who has been miscast. It is evident that most of the cast don’t even rate the play they have to perform.

The only decent actress is late and nerves become frayed. Arguments ensue and someone threatens to quit and someone is terrified of having to drop their trousers.

Everything that could go wrong does and most of the cast want to cancel the whole thing but with 20 people having bought tickets the farce begins.

The performances in the farce are stilted, lines are forgotten, the prompt says more lines than most, someone turns up on stage who isn’t even in the play.

This play is a riot that the audiences loved.

 

SKU: flp114 Categories: , , , , , , Product ID: 6120

Additional information

Author

Genre

Comedy

Script Style

Full Length Play

Duration (mins)

120

Male Cast

3

Female Cast

6

Total Cast

9

Synopsis

An amateur dramatic group meet to prepare for opening night of their performance of the farce ‘A Bit of Slap and Tickle’.

As we meet the actors we learn about their relationships, we discover who is nervous, who is confident, who is a terrible actor and who has been miscast. It is evident that most of the cast don’t even rate the play they have to perform.

The only decent actress is late and nerves become frayed. Arguments ensue and someone threatens to quit and someone is terrified of having to drop their trousers.

Everything that could go wrong does and most of the cast want to cancel the whole thing but with 20 people having bought tickets the farce begins.

The performances in the farce are stilted, lines are forgotten, the prompt says more lines than most, someone turns up on stage who isn’t even in the play.

This play is a riot that the audiences loved.

 

Cast

Chelsea: 20’s. An outspoken and confident girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Dale:      30’s/40’s. A nervous chap, a good actor but totally lacks confidence.

Pam:      50’s/60’s. Domineering woman, director of the play, she gets increasingly agitated as the evening progresses.

Pat:        40’s/50’s. Married to Mick. Outspoken woman who belittles her husband at every opportunity.

Mick       40’s/50’s. Married to Pat. Hen pecked husband.

Sonia:    40’s. Happy go lucky lady, who does the makeup.

Felicity: 60’s. An intolerant woman, who makes acerbic comments at every opportunity.

David:  60’s. An older gentleman who likes to drone on, has little awareness of what is going on around him and has a personal hygiene problem.

Tracey: 50’s/60’s. She can only be politely described as a simpleton.

Sample

flp114

2 reviews for Backstage Farce

  1. Steve Davies

    This play was performed by the Centralian players in Abbots Langley in May 2018.

  2. Steve Davies

    National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region

    Society : The Centralian Players
    Production : Backstage Farce
    Date : 11th May 2018
    Venue : The Henderson Hub
    Report by : Gillianne Morris-Monk

    Show Report

    I found it very interesting to see a new play that was directed by the author, Steve Barker. The audience were able to see the piece as the author intended rather than someone else’s interpretation. This is a perfect play for an amateur cast as it is based on an amateur company putting on a play so the cast could relate to all the characters and the things that went wrong for them. After all my years in the theatre, I certainly recognised all the problems that beset ‘The Bluebell End Players’, from the mismatched casting to the caretaker not arriving to unlock the dressing rooms on opening night. The construction of the play with the actors getting ready for opening night in act one and then actually performing the play in act two gave an opportunity for the cast to play two roles – the amateur performer and then that person playing a character in the play within the play. Well done Steve, on writing such an amusing play and for directing the two halves so cleverly to produce an evening’s entertainment enjoyed by a very appreciative audience.

    The set designed by Andrew Gardner and built by society members and friends was just what it was supposed to be – the stage set of a play! What a gift for the set designer and for Stage Manager Paul Hammond, no complicated set-change as the plot involves the dressing rooms being locked so the actors are getting ready on the stage. The set was appropriately planned to provide the requisite doors and furniture for the farce element of ‘A bit of Slap and Tickle’ but also leave enough room for the cast to all be on stage in act one, getting ready and having their make-up applied.

    Properties co-ordinated by Paul Hammond were all suitable for the story and exactly where they should be at any given time.

    Lighting and sound by Dave Gardner was well done. All cues were on time and enhanced the performance. My only criticism is something I mention to every society using the hall, we could not hear the safety announcement. I think it is because the acoustics in the auditorium enhance the chatting of the audience so that the announcement is drowned out and the audience are unaware that anything is being said. Something is needed to get their attention!

    Costumes and make-up by Janet Thorpe were all appropriate for each character and for the role they play in the farce. There was a good contrast between the two.

    Prompt Jayne Dugan was required when I attended on opening night – due to nerves no doubt – but she responded quickly and got everything back on track.

    Pam – Lorna Betts
    I did feel that Lorna slightly underplayed the harassed ‘director’ trying to get everyone organised for the performance, however, she was obviously saving herself for Act Two, every director’s nightmare having to ‘go on’ because someone hasn’t turned up. Lorna’s performance as Tilly the sexy young secretary was hilarious, making up to Colin in her mini skirt and being shoved in and out of the cupboard.

    Mick/Colin – Robert McKeever
    Robert didn’t disappoint as the dopey, hen-pecked husband, doing as he is told by his forceful wife and then in ‘A Bit of Slap and Tickle’ changes character to play the more confident 1970’s ‘male chauvinist pig’ complete with medallion who is having an affair with his work colleague Tilly. Excellent dialogue delivery (Mick does have the best line about taking home a bag for life!). Very good contrast in posture and body language with expressive facial expression. The audience were left in no doubt as to how Mick felt about his wife, without letter her see his reactions. Very slick comedy timing especially in the act two farce.

    Pat/Marion – Linda Hirst
    Nice portrayal of the elegant dominant wife in act one and the more demure ‘do gooder’ wife in act two with her secret sex business. Very good diction and projection, we heard every word. Nice interaction with the rest of the cast.

    David/Gary – Mark Nichols
    This was a particularly fine comedy performance as the older lonely man who is totally oblivious of his personal hygiene problems, who ends up playing the teenage love interest with disastrous results. Very expressive face especially when hilariously making inept advances to Shelley. Well done.

    Chelsea/Shelley – Bethany Barker
    A strong performance as confident, young Chelsea with an opinion on everything. It was a joy to see Bethany’s expressive use of her face as Chelsea tries to keep in character as Shelley when smelly David is trying to kiss her. Good projection and delivery of lines.

    Dale/John – Dean Baylis
    Well acted as Dale who is struggling to learn his lines. Particularly funny when the director expects him to drop his trousers which he has so far been too shy to do at rehearsals and the consequent comedy situation in the farce when Dale as John is about to do so but remembers he is not wearing his underpants. There was no need for words and his body and face told it all. Dean certainly had his comedy face on and managed to keep it controlled and not overplayed when the audience were laughing so much.

    Felicity/Jeanette – Linda Freeman
    Very natural dialogue with the contrast between the rather laid-back Felicity with the occasional pithy comment and Jeanette the ‘northener’ and new next door neighbour. As Felicity, in an attempt to contrast with the more ebullient characters, there were a few occasions when the dialogue was a little too quiet and we didn’t want to miss any of the well payed asides. Whereas Jeanette was portrayed as the strong, loud caricature of a northerner, an excellent change of character and we could forgive the occasional lapse of accent.

    Sonia – Klara Remmington
    Klara is a very accomplished actress and once again gave a very natural performance as the bright and assured Sonia. Very believable as the make-up artist and hairdresser, getting everyone ready before our eyes whilst confidently delivering her dialogue. Sonia is one of the characters that does not appear in the farce but ends up, due to circumstances beyond control, as the prompt. This gave Klara the opportunity to play the other side of Sonia, less confident but still enthusiastic as she tries to carry out a task she knows nothing about. Very good interaction with each of the other characters.

    Tracey – Joyce Owens
    Good comedy character as the caretake who is oblivious to how important opening night is and bumbles her way through the preparations and even the performance. Joyce made an impact on her first entrance and continued to entertain each time she appeared.

    I would like to give a mention to the clever two-way programme. From the front it was the Centralians programme but when flipped over it became the Bluebell End Players programme. Well done to Andrew Gardner and Richard Coleman. Just a tiny thought, I know that you like to break with
    tradition and have the biogs of the actors appear as comments from the character, but on this occasion perhaps the Centralian actors could have had information about themselves to contrast with the character comments of the Bluebell End Players. Also there is a little bit of curious me that would like to know a little more about the members.

    Thank you for inviting me to review your production, I am looking forward to your next play.

    Best wishes

    Gilli Morris-Monk
    Regional Representative
    NODA London District 10 (Drama)

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