Report by:  Peter Parlour on Saturday 7 November 2015 (edited for inaccuracies)
Venue:  Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond
Director:  Jim Brown

   This play, by Alan Ayckbourn, is difficult to direct and perform.  It is set around a production of ‘The Beggars Opera’, and is very bitty, with short scenes introduced by short musical interludes, to set the scene. Richmond did a first-class job with many excellent performances particularly by Mike Walker who played Dafydd ap Llewellyn, the producer of the play. He was really excellent, keeping his strong Welsh accent throughout the play.

   Guy Jones was excellent, played by Dan Cockett, a shy newcomer who wanted to be in the play. He was soon in great demand with the women, and did little or nothing to fight them off. Hannah Llewellyn, the producer’s wife, very well played by Ann Greer, was the first to draw his attention. Fay Hubbard, played by Julie Winn, also won his heart and was also very well played. The rehearsals were slow to get going with lots of interruptions and cast not turning up [What’s changed!]. Some of the interruptions were caused by Jarvis Huntley-Pike who was concerned about a plot of land. He was very powerfully played by Doug Clayton.

   The prompt, Bridget Baines, was played by  Amanda White very well indeed. She was in conflict with Linda Washbrook, very well played by Beki Stevenson. They really had a proper set-to, almost pulling out each other’s hair and had to be pulled apart, and this was very well done. Ian Hubbard, played by Gary Winn, seemed to be doing nothing except reading his paper, and couldn't care much about what his wife was doing, and was well played. Crispin Usher, played by Stewart Kerr was doing his best to sort them all out.  Mr and Mrs  Washbrook were well played by  Martin Ash and Norma Rogers respectively. They were all trying to get their piece done before leaving for a Dinner.

   Each of the cast took turns in singing the intros which were accompanied by recorded piano and all very well done. We had a small chorus who helped out with the singing namely Alex Caffery and Maggie Collingburn.  Director Jim Brown said it was a very hard play to set, so no wonder it hasn’t been done very often, but really  Ayckbourn at his best. The play began with the cast taking their curtain calls, and ended  facing our audience in costume. Well done Richmond. Judging by the large audiences it was well received.



A Chorus of Disapproval, Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond

Thursday 5 November 2015 /  D&S Times / Arts

   A widower, Guy Jones, joins Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society (PALOS) and rises through the company ranks purely by his inability to say no and what other people read into him. The play is juxtaposed with scenes and music from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, which PALOS is staging.

   A Chorus Of Disapproval marked the 25th anniversary of Alan Ayckbourn’s career as a playwright and was his 31st full-length play. It is one of the most popular of Alan's plays and his acclaimed production at the National Theatre in 1985 won more awards than any other single Ayckbourn production until The Norman Conquests transferred to New York in 2009.