The Garden Suburb Theatre (GST) is a friendly and welcoming amateur theatre company.

We are a registered charity promoting involvement in the Dramatic Arts in North London. We welcome anyone who wishes to learn more about drama, either by participating in or coming to watch one of our diverse programme of shows.

Review

Alan Aykbourn's funny; though slight; tale of shenanigans around an amateur performance of The Beggar's Opera was well suited to the intimate performing space at the Bull.

Francis Becker's direction was well paced. Action was staged to engage the audience. Entrances and exits were well covered and care had been taken to give clear sightlines. The fight scene was very convincing.

Sets were minimal and scene changes fast and efficient. The furniture for the bar was particularly fitting. Beggar's Opera costumes were well selected while characters 'everyday' costumes all looked good. Crispin's 'Coal not Dole' t-shirt was a pleasing nod towards the play's original production date of 1984.

While the piece is not, of course, a musical it was notable that the musical interludes seemed to be outside the range of some of the ladies of the cast though this may have been intentional.

The cross-fade to the scene where Dafydd confides in Guy looked rushed; the fade up at the end of the scene was much more natural. Workers should have had a warmer tone to distinguish them from the 'normal' stage lighting. Ian's outburst after meeting Guy's friend offstage really deserved to be punctuated either by a blackout or a rapid cross-fade to Guy's entrance on the other side of the stage.

Ian Grainger did well in the lead role of Guy Jones. He coped admirably with the fact that the character has, at times, to show barely credible naivety. Very good reactions to others and I liked his scene experimenting with various dialects.

Owain Rose was firmly in character as Dafydd Ap Llewllyn displaying the frustrated director. He made the most of the character's many asides.

Landé Belo clearly relished her part as Fay Hubbard. Her flirtatious behaviour towards Guy and the other men was most amusing. The scene with Guy worked very well, Fay's amusement at her husband's predicament very well acted.

One of the highlights of the production was the pivotal scene opening Act II where Fay confronts Guy and Hannah Llewllyn.

Natalie White played Hannah with great charm; a very natural and convincing portrayal.

Tim Solomons' portrayal of the oleaginous Ian Hubbard was suitably creepy – one could not imagine trusting him with anything.

Rusty Ashman was superb as the dotty Councillor Jarvis Huntley-Pike. There was an edge to his performance that reminded us that he was a person of influence who was totally out of his tree. His long-suffering wife Rebecca was neatly portrayed by Ashley Collins, her one major scene telling us everything we needed to know about her relationship with her eccentric husband.

Edwin Coutts in his debut with the company did exceptionally well with the limited stage-time that the character is afforded. Jenni Luckit, another debutante, was very effective as Linda Washbrook. Bridget Baines was played most competently by Antonia White while the smaller characters of Ted and Enid Washbrook were nicely portrayed by Roger Rose and Debbie Lane. Sonia Beldom displayed both her expertise at the keyboard and her comic timing as rehearsal pianist Ms Ames.

The programme had a nicely designed cover with a good photo montage. Thank you for including a Noda credit. Cast portraits were clear and it is always good to see a few rehearsal photos.

Many thanks for your invitation and your hospitality. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Review by Paul Holgate

This is a review of A Chorus of Disapproval