Fish and Chips in Javea

Benny Davis reviews a cooperative theatre venture between Javea Players and Monte Pego Theatre Company .

THE Javea Players and Monte Pego Theatre Company wrote a new page in the history of Costa amateur theatre when they staged a cooperative production at the Players Studio Theatre in Javea last week.

Well, not exactly “cooperative” in the true sense of the word as both companies produced their own independent packages, but the event showed willingness to throw aside the petty differences that have tended to alienate am-dram companies from each other over the years. 

Common sense when you consider that the one thing they all have in common these days is that lack of funds, shrinking audiences and lack of members and actors.

On this occasion, the two individual productions were ‘A Chip in the Sugar’ by Alan Bennett and ‘The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish’ by David Tristram. Javea Players Norman Dunnington kicked-off the evening with a superb interpretation of Alan Bennett’s monologue written for the BBC’s Talking Head series.

Norman’s compelling portrayal of Graham, the jealous and slightly unhinged son was utterly convincing and revealed the full range of Bennett’s tragi-comedy as he filled the stage with lonely and vulnerable characters talking of plastic macs, day trips to Asda, lunch at a new bright red take-away where a chip found in the sugar was excused as “teething problems” and the small problem of bigamy.

The piece illustrated that, armed with the right script; one actor can create a character, and even a whole community, with little more than a chair and dodgy Fair Isle pullover and green track trousers.

A hard act to follow, but the Monte Pego team of Jeff and Jane Corbett did exactly that – with honours.

‘The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish’ is as quirky as the title suggests and highlights the problems facing many long time married couples – boredom! Henry is a full-time fantasist and wife Alice a full time housewife for whom everything, including Henry, has to be in its rightful place.

Forever tidying up after her husband, she’s also forever dragging him back into reality. His fantasies span an amazing range of hero’s including actor, comedian, raconteur, sporting hero, leading socialite, business tycoon, secret agent and acting President of the United States

But unknown to Henry, bored housewife is having her own fantasy featuring Michel, a tall, dark and available French waiter.

Only Orca the goldfish witnesses the real life rants and secret fantasies of the odd couple while he or she swims round the bowl in solitary but silent splendour.

Written for a cast of two, plus the goldfish, the story gives the actors the chance to display a broad range of characters and characterisations which Jeff and Jane Corbett excelled at, aided by some pretty creative lighting to convey the transition between fantasy and reality.

An extremely funny, and at times absurd but observational script, that provided forty minutes of extremely entertaining theatre. Overall a successful venture that should encourage further joint productions.

Stage management, lighting and front of house were all managed by Javea Players.

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