Churt Amateur Dramatic Society’s latest production The Last Resort transported its audience to a day at the English seaside.
I was still chomping around the candy floss freshly spun for me by the smiling lady at the entrance, near two portly figures painted on the face-in-the-hole board. Aha, sights and smells, I thought, clever. It was a perfect and evocative sensory welcome that took me back to my childhood.
With my stick of rock drumming to the music, I was there, at the seaside, ready to embrace a day in the life of the people of Ferryton On Sea. Then, as the lights dimmed in the hall, the stage filled with actors young and old, and the buzzing, expectant audience took their seats.
What followed was testament to the vision of director Ruth Ahmed and the enthusiasm and skill of the entire cast, seagulls and donkeys included. They took the witty and self-confessed ’flexible’ script of Chris Owen and made it their own, with confident performances covering a range of emotions and styles.
There was a willingly unable heart-throb milkman; a moody family of four, set to make the worst of a good day; and the Brews Up Posse radio team, one in the air, one on the ground and one a stranger to Planet Earth I’ll wager.
The Brights family dropped in from the 1950s, all gingham and obedient kids. Teenage boys, teenage girls and all that goes with that, giggling, flirting and embarrassment.
Even an Australian surf team entered the fray but were roundly beaten to second place brag by a miserable Englishman standing on the roof of his rapidly-submerging family car. Add the dramatic sound effects of lapping waves, circling helicopter and West Country radio jingles, all generated by the cast, and you have performance theatre at its quirky best.