Play will exercise your laughing

Alnwick Theatre Club members rehearse the farce In My Ladies Chamber.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Alnwick Theatre Club members rehearse the farce In My Ladies Chamber. Picture by Jane Coltman
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In My Lady’s Chamber, Alnwick Playhouse runs until Saturday, May 28.

A friend of mine once said, “a day without laughter is a day wasted”. I couldn’t agree more, and I certainly recommend Alnwick Theatre Club’s In My Lady’s Chamber to give those tickle muscles a work-out.

The town’s longest running amateur theatre club has done it yet again. This bedroom farce about the disappearance of an all-important chastity belt left me roaring in the aisles.

Not only do we have the usual comings and goings, misunderstandings and extremely funny accents, but a maid who scratches all the time, a servant who constantly gets wet and a Frenchman in a fine feather hat.

In My Lady’s Chamber certainly packs a punch.

The humour doesn’t just come from the words – the actors perfected facial expressions and mannerisms galore.

Helen Gee-Graham’s direction has conquered and produced a well devised and well timed farce. Her cast include a few familiar faces, and some new – definitely a welcome addition to the stage.

Each cast member is delightful to watch and it’s hard to only pick out one or two. So I won’t.

Cath Hughes stands proudly as Lady Jane, awaiting the return of her Lord, played dexterously by Peter Biggers, while actually (to use a phrase from the play) cavorting with the young Squire, a part well suited to the highly energetic Harry Brierley.

Poor Lady Jane has to contend with a Frenchman who can’t seem to keep his trousers on, played with a Clouseau-esque elegance by the wonderfully accented Matt Bush.

Susan Joyce excels as the tart in the tower, yet another foil in the farce, and John Firth shows he can be more than meets the eye as the seemingly credulous Official.

In any production, it is sometimes those with smaller roles who are forgotten, but Gee-Graham has managed to bring those parts alive. Philippa Mawer and Trevor Hughes created two memorable characters who keep the audience on their toes.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so itchy coming out of a theatre.

Mention must go to the stage crew who have designed a bedroom fit for, well a lady. The nature of the set, including the walls of the chamber and its hangings, encapsulate the castle and do not detract from the action.

A final note, I dislike the term amateur. I have seen a professionalism on this stage. The hard work and dedication of both cast and crew are certainly evident.

Well done Alnwick Theatre Club.