Thame Players’ next production, A Bunch of Amateurs, is a “terrific comedy packed with killer comic dialogue” (What’s on stage), being performed at the Players Theatre, Thame between 7th – 11th March. The Players Theatre Nelson Street Thame Oxfordshire OX9 2DP See www.thameplayers.co.uk
The plot involves a washed-up Hollywood star who is flown to England to play King Lear at Stratford. He believes he’ll be appearing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Instead, he finds he has signed on with the Stratford Players in the Suffolk village of Stratford St John. The fading actor considers himself too big for this lowly setting. The transition to humble actor, happy to play with the British amateurs takes some time, with a lot of laughs along the way, but eventually he realises he’s no better than them.
A Bunch of Amateurs was adapted as a play from the 2008 film of the same name, both written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, and first performed in 2014. Their earlier work includes Spitting Image and Harry Enfield and Chums. Their film The Wipers Times won the Broadcast Press Guild Award for best single drama in 2014, and was nominated for a BAFTA, before its stage adaptation and sell-out tour. He and Nick also wrote the acclaimed 2016 BBC Radio 4 comedy drama Trial By Laughter and their latest play, Spike, went on tour last autumn.
In an interview for Sardines magazine, Nick commented, “I think the play is good for amateur groups because it doesn’t patronise them, as they are the real stars of the show. It’s really about how the amateurs are better at it than the great professionals. In the same interview, Ian added, “Their commitment is above and beyond as they’re doing it for nothing. Then you hear the laughter coming from the audience and you realise ‘There’s nothing like this’. And there really isn’t.”
Fittingly, this production of A Bunch of Amateurs is performed by Thame Players, a popular amateur group which has been active over many years. Steve Lambell, director of Thame Players’ production, comments: “Our commitment as an amateur group is every bit as strong as Ian says, and I think the comments made by Nick and Ian sum up what amateurs are. As Jack Finality says in the play, ‘We’ll give it our best shot’ - so here we are, giving it just that!
Come and see our production and see if you agree with Nick and Ian that we are the real stars of the show. Whatever the verdict, you’ll enjoy a hilarious evening, performed by a great bunch of amateurs!”
A Bunch of Amateurs will be performed from Tuesday 7th to Saturday 11th March inclusive at 7.45 pm at the Players Theatre, Thame OX9 2DP. Tickets are £8 on Tuesday and Wednesday and £10 (concessions £8) on Thursday to Saturday. Book online at www.thameplayers.co.uk or from the Information Centre at Thame Town Hall (check https://www.thametowncouncil.gov.uk/visit-thame/information-centre/ for opening times).
About the authors Nick Newman is an award-winning cartoonist and writer, who has worked for Private Eye since 1981 and been pocket cartoonist for The Sunday Times since 1989. He was The Cartoon Art Trust’s Pocket/Gag Cartoonist of the Year in 1997, 1998, 2005 and 2016. Ian Hislop is a writer and broadcaster who has been editor of Private Eye since 1986. He has written and presented many documentaries for TV and radio. He has appeared frequently on Question Time and since 1990 has been a team captain on BBC’s Have I Got News For You.
A Bunch of Amateurs is a Thame Players Theatre Company production, presented by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French Ltd. The play was first performed at the Watermill Theatre on 22nd May 2014
The Black Horse, Thame OX9 2BL is offering all ticket purchasers a special low-price pre-show dinner, based on an option of two courses with a glass of house wine at £22 or an option of three courses with a glass of house wine for £26. For more information and terms & conditions please visit www.thameplayers.co.uk.
Thame Players run the only dedicated theatre and cinema facility serving Thame, south-east Oxfordshire and west Buckinghamshire and have been a vibrant and successful amateur dramatics group for over 75 years. As an amateur theatre group they aim to provide high-quality, wide-ranging and accessible entertainment for Thame and local area. Shows are put on throughout the year at affordable prices, designed to suit a wide range of tastes and age groups.
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