It’s been a good autumn for Lympstone Entertainments. The village is still keen to assemble in its hall to be entertained together. Three professional events brought in the audiences for the new season. The first was Duck Variations, whose title and poster were the subject of much curiosity. It turned out to be an American play, perfectly performed by two mature Exeter actors, sitting on a bench by the lake in Chicago, and sure enough discussing ducks. And other matters, of course. But always coming back to ducks. About which they know nothing. The audience, sitting around the bench on three sides, was entranced. This was intimate, comic, engaging theatre, beautifully directed by Alistair Ganley (known to us from his work with Cygnet Theatre, appropriately enough). But this small company was Benchmark Theatre, and we have asked them to keep us informed of their next production.
At the end of October we presented another small Devon theatre company, Scratchwork Theatre, and this was very different. Whereas Duck Variations had been still and verbal, HAGS, subtitled A Magical Extravaganza, employed a variety of theatrical techniques – physical comedy, song and dance, magic tricks. Its subject was the Bideford Witches, three women who
were the last in England to be hanged for witchcraft, in 1674 in Exeter. The show was performed by three hugely talented young women, supported by a musician who played an integral part
(and a variety of instruments). They also brought a lighting technician, and the lighting effects contributed much to the drama. They attacked their subject with comic relish, and members of the audience sometimes found themselves on stage, contributing to the mayhem. It was a brilliant and entertaining way of exploring a grim subject, but the superbly-staged finale, when the three stood backlit in a dramatic tableau representing their execution, stilled the audience and moved us at the end.
In between these two wonderful dramas, we had a return visit (the fourth) from Lympstone’s favourite band, The Budapest Cafe Orchestra (all the way from Haringey). A full house just loved their stirring mix of Gypsy-flavoured folk music and their own unique arrangements of famous classsical tunes, that left the audience with grins on their faces and rhythm in their feet.
You’ll have to wait until Christmas is over and the new year under way before the next offering, the Village Concert itself.