Honiton Players spread a ‘brilliant’ bit of cheer

Comedy Party Piece provides a feast of laughs for culture vultures, but could have been better supported.

I QUITE often hear people in Honiton complain: “There is nothing to do.”

When local organisations stage events, however, they can’t always be guaranteed of support.

So, Honiton Players admit it was “make or break” for them when they staged comedy Party Piece at the Royal British Legion Club last week.

The comedy, by Richard Harris, was executed to a degree of professionalism that culture vultures feasted on. It was brilliant.

But, as is often the case, the matinee performance on Saturday attracted an audience of under 20 people.

The lack of support, however, did nothing to dampen the cast of seven’s spirits.

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They carried on regardless, delivering a sparkling performance that was appreciated by everyone in the hall.

Directed by Trevor Patch, Party Piece told the story of obsessive doctor Michael Smethurst (Adam Smith-Jones) and his bag of nerves wife, Roma (Ellie Cummings), who were organising a fancy dress housewarming party.

With all the action in the garden, it was an over-the-garden fence tale of neighbours.

Pegging her Bridget Jones’ knickers on the line next door was crafty pensioner Mrs Hinson (Tracey Bonetta), who got a shock when her beloved only son (Sam Summerfield) popped by to suggest she should sell up and move into a flat.

His wife Jennifer (Karen Curtis) copped the blame.

As guest after guest telephoned with their excuses, the Smethurt’s party looked set for disaster. Just two guests initially arrived - Toby (Rob Grove) and Sandy (Vicky Halse) - but, eventually, the Hinsons invite themselves.

It did all end in disaster, of course - with the doctor telling his guests to leave.

Outstanding performances were given by Tracey Bonetta and Rob Grove.

It was a laugh-a-minute play, enhanced by good acting and a great set. What a pity more people didn’t turn out on Saturday afternoon to watch it.

Sheila Wall, the Players’ chairman, says a decision will be taken in February about a new project.

However, it is likely that a matinee performance will not be included.

Evening audiences for Party Piece numbered at least 80 a time.

Honiton Players are talented and enthusiastic. They deserve support.

Production team: Shaun Bonetta, Pete Privett, Nick Skinner, Barbara Simmons, Dave Retter, Ann Reed, Sheila Wall and Dave Pickerell.