Beyond a Joke at is a triumph for Clitheroe theatre group
First of all let me say a huge well done to the cast, director and backstage crew for their production of 'Beyond a Joke' by Derek Benfield.
Set in Jane and Andrew's country house it appears that this house has a tendency to be very accident prone with six people having already died in unfortunate circumstances.
When their daughter's boyfriend, Geoff, arrives for the weekend he becomes suspicious that the deaths were not accidental. The plot thickens!
A body falls out of a cupboard, a vicar dies on the garden seat and pressure to conceal the bodies grows as more visitors arrive. The effort to hide the bodies in a summer house or on a compost heap involves a wheelbarrow and many distractions. All great fun!
However as someone said “ Farce is a serious business.” It is high energy, at a breakneck pace, with ludicrously improbable situations and very difficult to sustain. But sustain they did!
Andrew, played by Damian Marsh and Kelly Steed as Jane, his wife, brought a high degree of energy to the play with their ridiculous actions and explanations.
Amy Prendergast as Sally their daughter, was totally believable and in gentle contrast. Whilst Geralyn Lambert, Andrew's sister, was constantly on the move – her timing was excellent.
The visiting vicar, played by Brian Haworth, was a lovely, gentle, confused character who sadly dies.
The young man , Geoff, who arrives early on in the play, is the central character and beautifully played by Oliver Bowen. His timing was excellent, his facial expressions captivating and his performance exceptional. One to watch!
Sam Smith and Peter Lambert who played Geoff's parents, gradually brought the play to a surprising conclusion, when, after leaving in haste, they drive off with one of the bodies in the boot of their car!
The set designed and constructed by Brian Haworth and his crew was excellent - second to none.
Last, but far from least, congratulations must be extended to Lesley Haworth for her direction of this fast-paced, complex production.
The audience enjoyed it – a celebration of the ridiculous! Well done!