Being members of the Club Theatre (£30 pp/year, we are sent vouchers to see 6 plays per year, put on by amateur dramatists. However, so many of the plays have been anything but amateurish!

Last night we went to see ‘Dead Guilty’.

“When John Haddrell dies of a heart attack a the wheel of his car, the woman at his side is not his wife, Margaret, but his lover, Julia. Events take a sinister turn when Margaret begins to encroach on Julia’s life, seeming to take it over …”

Let’s just say it reminded me a little of ‘Single White Female’ …

So let’s run through the typical night:
We left home around 7.00 pm because curtain up is at 7.40. Although it only takes 10 minutes to get there, I want to go and nosy about some of the houses in the area. We are planning to improve the look of our private entrance at home, so I thought I might just go and have a look to see what others have done, and to see whether I could steal any ideas.

Ordinarily, we would have booked for dinner at “Sweethearts”, but unfortunately they were closed this week. We did pass by there, and noticed that they are undergoing a refurb. I liked the way it was before – I hope it isn’t going to lose its soul with its new interior! Watch this space for new pictures and news.

Anyhow, I digress. We arrived at the theatre at 7.30 where we presented our tickets before moving upstairs for a quick drink. Luckily the bar area has recently been changed to a ‘smoke free zone’! Hurrah! What a difference! Drinks are really cheap: 2 x gin & tonics and 2 x pints of Stella cost £7.20. Not too bad at all for the UK. I am not so ‘up’ on drinks prices, but I think beer normally costs over £2 and mixed drinks over £3 … And no, we didn’t try and ‘down’ 2 drinks each in the remaining 10 minutes, one drink was an interval pre-order.

The alternative is to buy a coffee voucher (70p) which you can exchange for coffee and a biscuit at the interval. Raffle tickets are also a big hit, but unfortunately the prizes have never interested me, so we haven’t boughts tickets ever. Here is a sample of the prizes: easter egg, clock, plastic bedside lamp, set of floral (dated) mugs, and so the list goes on.

Although the prizes seem quite grim, they go down very well with the average theatre goer, it seems. It might have something to do with the fact that the average Club Theatre goer also supports the local hairdressers providing blue rinses! No kidding, last night I tried to find anyone younger than me. There was one lad of about 18 who I suspect had been dragged out by his family – perhaps one of his family was starring …? But seriously, the average age is possibly somewhere between 65 and 75. I think that is the reason why no-one giggles when a recording of “God save the Queen” as played by a brass band, is played. Instead, they all (we all) get up until it is over, after which everyone sits down again and the show can commence. No-one seems to be too bothered about it one way or another. The first time I experienced it, I did find it very amusing, but now we’re used to it and we get up along with everyone else, with not so much as a smirk on our faces.

As I mentioned earlier, the plays are generally very good. From time to time there is the odd actor who didn’t do particularly well, but generally the standard is much better than I could ever have guessed it would be. The sets are always very well designed, the lighting is good, the actors vary from excellent to fair (normally lesser roles), but all in all, it is an extremely uplifting experience. It is really just such a pity that there are so few younger people who support the theatre. We are desperately trying to spread the word! It is really a very good night out at a very reasonable price. We have thought about becoming more involved ourselves (not acting!), but currently we just have too much on.

We look forward to The Lion in Winter by James Goldman, 18th to 24th March 2007, £7.50 or ticket voucher (I did say it was good value, especially if you were a member). Based on historical fact, this is the story of Henry II and his queen Eleanor. Although their mutual passion is now dead they barter, cajole and threaten to win the throne for their favourite son.