Reviews of 'Disposing of the Body'
Reviews of 'Brassed Off'
Review by David Dorey, Lincolnshire County Council music co-ordinator
for the Spalding Guardian
Brassed Off is a play about a mining community under threat and the spirit of survival displayed through the local brass band. The moral of the story is that, although the working man can be heartlessly betrayed by his lords and masters, his spirit is unquenchable and can lead him to triumph.
The performance by St Nicolas Players at Spalding's South Holland centre was also about community - the coming together of a theatre company, three local brass bands, Act II and a near sell out audience who enjoyed an evening of amateur theatre at its best.
The cast was a mixture of familiar faces and new talent. George Ogden, as patriarchal conductor Danny, ranged from splenetic petulance in front of the band to desperate ill health. Karl Gernert and Karen Harley were convincing as the young couple beset by debt and noisy children.
Paul Coleman and Jed Laxton made a fine double act as the members who passion banding had as much to do with beer as Beethoven and whose determination to leave the band was dealt a fatal blow by the arrival of Gloria (Amy Wood). Amy is a newcomer to the Spalding stage, as is Rob Nichols, who played Andy, her hapless swain, and both took to the stage like naturals. Arline Evenden and Sally Harrison provided the comedic counterparts to Jim and Harry as well as pointing up the staunch support that women provided beleaguered societies in times of trouble. The star turn for many was Daniel Clarke, in the role of Shane, who has the ability to stride downstage centre, plant his feet firmly and capture his audience.
Congratulations to the band which performed well in unfamiliar circumstances and particular praise for those who even engaged in a bit of acting! Their appearance at the opening playing with only the light from their miners lamps on a darkened stage, was one of the highlights of the evening.
Congratulations also to Philip Bosworth and Peter Breach for bringing together such a complicated and detailed production. They and St Nics can be satisfied with a job well done.
Live amateur theatre is a vital componant of a healthy society. This splendid effort brought together a large number of people to share an evening in an entertainment experience that makes TV seem a very pallid substitute for the real thing.