Nick Warburton reviews Lights, Camera, Action

Lights, Camera, Action
by Stephen Smith
Performed by Waterbeach Community Players
directed by Stephen Smith

This entertaining evening consisted of two linked plays - Background Artiste and On Location. Both, as friends of Waterbeach will not be surprised to learn, were written and directed by Stephen Smith.

Stephen's great strengths as a writer are to be found in the sharp portrayal of his characters and in genuinely funny dialogue. These are rare enough qualities and I believe they are sufficient in themselves to entertain us handsomely without worrying too much about the twists and turns of an ornate plot. Like his other plays, these pieces are based on Stephen Smith's own experience - in this case as a 'background artiste' on a film set - and his acute observation of this world is informative and rewarding.

Here, true to form, we had vividly colourful characters that provided us with many laughs. There was the shifty, somewhat desperate agent - aptly named Alfredo Leache - who was well captured by Michael Williamson; the lugubrious, seen-it-all extra, played with miserable relish by Bill Bullivant; Christine Gilsenan as a scatty secretary; Victoria the well-off, disruptive newcomer played with her usual complete control of the material by Valmai Furness. The star-turn, though, was probably Gary Fowler as the waspish artiste who passed the time between scenes by flicking through his copy of Camping Magazine and darting hilarious asides in all directions. This versatile actor was clearly having a great deal of fun with his part, and that fun was manifestly conveyed to the audience. These worthy troopers were most ably supported by Jane Stewart and Roy Furness.

A most enjoyable evening, then, and one that should make us look forward to Stephen's next offering.

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