The Bridge Players offered two short plays for our entertainment this
summer, 'School Ties' and A Colliers Tuesday Tea.
Intrigue and mystery in School Ties.
School Ties is about the unexpected meeting after many years, of two
old school 'friends'.
Stella and her husband, Derek, (Claire Brotherton and Dave Bridger)
have put their house on the market and are expecting viewers. When
Amy and Ray turn up, (Becky Leitelmeyer and Paul Stothard) Derek is
dismayed that they appear to be settling down together as he, uninhibited
by the fact he was married, had a quite a thing for Amy five years
previously. This provides an under current of irritation between Stella
and Derek despite the fact that the other prospective purchaser is
Stella's old school chum Romaine (Briony Worthy) with whom she enjoyed
a 'close' relationship. All of this is viewed with adolescent exasperation
by Hannah, Derek and Stella's daughter, played with insouciance by
Then there is the question of the necklace. Stella owns a valuable
necklace amongst other less desirable items of jewelry but word has
got out and there is a jewel thief working in the area, hotly pursued
by the police.............but which of the house guests is the thief
and which the police? Confusions arise of course and in the end no
one really gets what they hoped for due to misplaced loyalties and
old school ties.
Becky Leitelmeyer made her debut in a Bridger Players summer production
with this play and was very good in her role as under cover cop who
might also have been grappling with unfulfilled hopes regarding Derek.
Paul Stothard as Ray, enjoyed the undisguised hostility between his
character and Derek. Derek and Stella, long married and weary with
the business of selling their house and quite probably with each other
maintained a veneer of politeness while dealing with their rather
gushing but duplicitous guest, Briony Worthy who was unashamedly stirring
It was an unusual and entertaining play, executed as we have come
to expect, with crispness and style by the Bridge Players.
The amusing fare that followed was tantalisingly hinted at as the
set was erected during the interval. The audience, sipping their wine
and discussing School Ties were intrigued as an enormous kitchen table,
seemingly hastily constructed by the props people, was carried onto
centre stage. It was already laid up for a high tea in what promised
to be kitchen sink, grit and grime drama.
Then director Paul Underwood came on stage and delivered a charmingly
hesitant and hilarious cameo as a vicar introducing a fund raising
As the actors came on stage it appeared that all was not what it seemed.
A delightful 12 minutes of split second timing, gags and slap stick
ensued with the legs falling off the table in rapid succession leaving
the cast having to hold the table up while they acted.
Comedy and mayhem in
A Collier's Tuesday Tea.
This send up of a D.H. Lawrence pit head drama, complete with son
who wants to avoid mining as a career and go to university, was quite
the funniest thing the Bridge Players have ever done. I know this
because everyone who saw it said so! The mother of the family convincingly
played by who I at first thought was Les Dawson but was in fact Morag
Underwood, heroically soldiers on trying to do the best for all the
family, Dad was Paul Stothard, just in from the pit and tolerating
no nonsense from sensitive son Fraser Turner. The daughter was played
by Zoe Dyndor who was able to indulge in the most appalling table
manners, spitting crumbs all over the table while talking with her
mouth full. Grandad was Val Smith who kept up a low muttering and
incomprehensible commentary on the whole affair, Michele Rimmer was
the gossipy next door neighbour killing time having a cuppa and all
of these literally played a supporting role to Neil Smith as the daughter's
boyfriend when he pops in and finding no chair, sits on the legless
table. This chaotic scene is further disrupted when John Plunkett
and Dave Bridger burst in with the tragic news of death and destruction
at the pit. Every member of the cast played their part in a play that
demanded the finest of timing and concentration to make it the comic
success that it was.
Back stage people were also, as ever, important in the success of
these plays, John Coatsworth and Peter Fisher worked on the set and
the famous table and Phil Bridger did sound and lighting, miss cueing
with the best of them for the second play.
A memorable and much talked about evening of entertainment.
Report by Chris Bridger
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