Last Tango in Little Grimley & Last Panto in Little Grimley

26th - 28th January 2024

Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society is in trouble. The membership has dwindled to four - and the audiences aren't much bigger - and if they don't come up with some rent money soon, they're going to be thrown out. Luckily, Chairman Gordon has written a play which will reverse their fortunes - or so they hope! Get ready for an evening of chaos and hilarity with the hapless - and pretty hopeless - would-be actors in these two madcap one-act plays. 

Production Officials

Directors
 Steve Benson & Adrienne Wormald


Cast

Gordon
 Steve Benson
Margaret
 Adrienne Wormald
Joyce
 Dorothy Jones
Bernard
 Joe Davies

Photographs by Adrian Mottram

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Reviews & Articles

BATS Review

It’s really pleasing to see Walmsley performing a play for the first time in 23 years, this time with two one act plays revolving around the comedic ups and downs of the Little Grimley Amateur Dramatics Society.

Under the expert hands of director Steve Benson, this production was an evening of top-notch entertainment. The first play was ‘Last Tango in Little Grimley’ which sees the local amdram group with a problem. When they hold their AGM only four people attend, and the group is close to giving up. However, Gordon who is the chairman and brilliantly played by Steve Benson, comes up with an idea to save the society. He has written a play for them to perform which includes plenty of sexual innuendos with a title that is bound to bring in an audience. First, he needs to convince the other members of the group. There is Margaret, expertly played by Adrienne Wormald (who also co-directs) who is dogmatic and opinionated and convinced she should be chairperson, who knows far more than Gordon and isn’t afraid to say so. She is not his only problem. Next there is Joyce, brilliantly played by Dorothy Jones, the treasurer of the society. She is a simple soul with no acting skills, in fact no skills at all! Finally, to add to the equation is Joe Davies who was great as Bernard the set builder who has no wish, nor the ability to act. All that makes you wonder why they keep going. 

The second play was ‘Last Panto in Little Grimley’ which sees the same four dysfunctional committee members meeting to discuss their financial position, or lack of the finances, and what they propose to do about the situation. There is no money, no audiences and not much talent, although the members are not prepared to admit to the latter. Gordon has conceived a new concept to attract a wider and more adult audience to their shows. He appears to have already started writing the new script and is convinced that it will bring in the crowds in droves. Margaret is not so sure. In fact, is quite certain that it will not work and doesn’t intend to remove her clothes in the off chance that it might be what the audience want. Joyce isn’t interested in the new script unless it is a musical with a good singing part for herself. Since her voice leaves a lot to be desired this idea is dead before it starts. She takes umbrage at Gordon’s criticism and starts to walk out but as the treasurer of the group she must be persuaded to stay at all costs. The same could be said of Bernard, the backstage dogsbody, set builder and general handy man who has little time for acting and no time for safety procedures.

All four actors were great, each one getting their own time to shine in the spotlight and having those killer comedic one liners. Let’s hope it’s not another 23 years before Walmsley perform another play.

Jason Crompton

NODA North West Review

Walmsley known for their musicals take on David Tristram’s Little Grimley plays. Programme notes say it is 23 years since they last did a play.

Walking into Walmsley Parish Hall the stage is set. An area has been made where you can sit and have drinks before the show and the seating area had boards at the back to make it more intimate.

The action then took place in front of the stage on a raised rostrum. Cluttered with things you would usually find: paint cans, stage flats, costume rail, boxes, table and chairs, a trestle table and even a saw and various other various items. The scene is set for the depleted members attending the Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society Committee Meeting.

Steve Benson directs and also takes on the role of Gordon P. Sidebottom - the chairman, director and lead actor of the society, dare I say more. The failing group decided that sex sells, well Gordon does and anyway he happens to have written a play about it. We are treated to a committee meeting which for some of us rings so true. There were some great moments and the missing pages was one of them.  When they start to act out Gordon’s play he has printed. How they kept up with it I am not sure. Steve reminded me of John Cleese at times and I wasn’t the only one as I heard someone mention it in the audience. His patience is running thin with the few members left, his scathing comments to Joyce about her singing like a castrated pig and dancing like a bag of spanners were awful but hilarious. Every director’s nightmare unfolds before our eyes about dates people can/can’t make for a rehearsal. The writer had a ball with this and the cast delivered. His character had to drive the action through and keep everyone in line while losing his patience. Well played.

Adrienne Wormald plays Margaret who gives Gordon a run for his money. Although initially against the play she saves the day at the point when the audience is about to walk out by flashing her boobs much to the amusement of Bernard and also gaining her popularity in the village.  She is the voice of reason and keeps Gordon in check. Her bickering and dislike of Bernard is evident and the side swipes she takes at him are hilarious. You get the feeling she would like to be the chairman. Great counter action character against Gordon too.

Joe Davies plays Bernard. We all know that one person who turns their hand to everything in the theatre, Set building, stage managing, lighting and sound and all on  a budget of £28.00. The moments when he was building the set on the stage during a rehearsal and trapped underneath a flat and no one noticing so funny and struck a chord. His banana eating playing through the scenes and coming to a not so great conclusion. His nightmare comes true when he has to be on stage and also play the back end of a horse.

Dorothy Jones was Joyce. Poor Joyce - she loves being there, she controls the meagre budget and is learning shorthand, least said about that the better. She is desperate to do a musical despite not being able to sing. You get the feeling she likes to keep busy - one of the stalwarts of the society and used to putting up with Gordon and his rants. Dorothy was hilarious - her state of not quite aware of what was going on and being a beat behind everyone was handled with just the right hesitation needed. Well played Dorothy.

Congratulations, the four worked well together to produce such a convincing parody of am dram dramas.

Thank you for the invite and hospitality from my guest Angela and I

Liz Hume-Dawson

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