An evening of One Act Comedies - April 2023


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"Great to be back - worth the wait! Well done everyone"!


"What a fab evening - excellent"




Excellent night - enjoyed every play - everyone amazing"


"Excellent! Well done all - a great evening! very powerful monologue and great comedies too"



Three One Act Plays and a Monologue


27th April 2023


Hoghton Players


Hoghton Village Hall




Nicola B Hindley, Stuart Lockhart, Brian Hoyle, Millie Santus


Author: David Slater

It was an enormous pleasure to return to Hoghton for a slice of finely honed theatrical entertainment of the best sort. My thanks go to Millie and all at Hoghton Players for inviting Craig and myself for a real NODA D3 treat at one of my favourite venues, along with the warm and friendly welcome which always accompanies a great evening’s entertainment at the village hall. 

This was a very interesting programme - three one act plays and a monologue - which promised much and it was lovely to see a packed house bristling with anticipation at what was to come. The COVID-19 lockdown has had an unfortunate impact on society in general and amateur theatre in particular and I salute Hoghton Players for getting back on track in fine style with a refreshingly different offering after a three year break. It was a lovely idea for the society to kick-start their reopening with a comical selection after the miseries of lockdown and the slow crawl back to something approaching normality. Humour was very much the order of the day at Hoghton - thank goodness! - and the entertainment on offer made for a real tonic. What a superb decision to go with comedy as the overriding theme of the evening after a rather miserable few years. 

The intimate staging which comes with a Hoghton production always impresses: to have the audience in your lap means that the performers have to be supremely confident and also, that the direction has to be pin sharp to make sure that sight lines and overall interaction works for everyone. In my many visits here, I have to say that I have yet to be disappointed: the best sort of attention is always given to suit the production to the playing space. Full marks again here: once again, this was textbook stuff.

‘Blind Date’ gave us a whimsical take on a a blind date (no, really?!) between Jonathan and Wendy. There was much to take away from from this humorous two hander and the setting added much to the experience. Rather than being an ‘in the round’ production, this was more of a ‘thrust’ staging (forgive me - I feel the need to get technical when it comes to a NODA report) and Robin Brown strolled around with great confidence to set the scene before his date arrived. The staging was great and Robin made the most of the initial set-up. During the comical date to follow, much was made of ‘voice over’ technology to announce our characters’ inner thoughts - as in a soliloquy - and although the thin script didn’t afford either Robin Brown or Anne Marie Flood much space to breathe, the overall scene which followed was most amusing nevertheless, thanks to their personal skills in portraying two very individual characters. Both performers excelled in delivering immensely likeable characters and certainly delivered the laughs. A lovely setting with excellent technical effects rounded things off nicely. This was the best little playlet of the evening and it’s down to our two players who brought skill, humour and professionalism to the piece and it was a wise decision to place this light-hearted bit of silliness to kick start the evening. 

‘Daddy’s Day’ followed in the same lightly humorous vein with a trio of disgruntled gents, fed up of looking after their kids. Deciding to have a jolly day to themselves free from the little ones, the old adage of ‘be careful what you wish for’ pops up and bites them on the bum… Robin Brown (surely a candidate for the hardest working man in showbiz) returned to show us his versatility, joined by two performers at opposite ends of the acting spectrum: Jordan Leigh’s approach was very studied and more than ably captured the louche and carefree attitude of his character; Brecon Harrison’s flat Northern vowels and naturalistic breeziness suited his character very well too. All three performers complemented each other well and the on-stage dynamic was most satisfying. The park bench setting was superbly well realised and again, the staging and overall ambience brought the audience in to the piece, resulting in plenty of chuckles. (Having admired Jordan’s habit of pointing at the floor in a previous visit to Hoghton, it was nice to see those fingers at work again here!)

After our two lighthearted playlets, there followed a more serious piece in the form of a monologue by Rana Shihadah. Rana is a performer I have long admired and she brought an intensity and great emotion to this piece. As a nurse who has a ‘long dark night of the soul’, Rana gave a very committed reading of the piece which entranced the audience and brought us all in to the feverish - but at the same time naturalistic - narrative. Impressive work.

The final one act play saw a return to broad humour in the form of ‘Plaster’. Poor old Eric (Steve Catterall) is recovering from a nasty accident and Helen (Aimee Wright) offers increasingly diminishing succour, leading to a comical finalé. Steve’s down to earth performance contrasted nicely with Aimee’s histrionic characterisation and the two made for a lovely(!) couple. This was a fine way to round off the evening’s entertainment and if the ‘twist in the tale’ could be seen a mile off, it mattered not a jot as the journey was more than worth the ride to the predictable conclusion. 

Did I forget to mention the unscheduled extra addition to the evening’s entertainment? Definitely not…! The comical duo who popped up ‘unannounced’ to give us a revisionist take on politically correct history was very much appreciated by me. I won’t say more here for fear of being ‘cancelled’ (NODA isn’t what it was I’m afraid!) but my heartfelt thanks go to the two jolly boys with their cheeky humour. Well played. 

Congratulations to all at Hoghton Players for a great evening of entertainment. Nicola B Hindley, Stuart Lockhart, Brian Hoyle and Millie Santus in the directors’ chairs are to be congratulated - along with the cast and crew - for returning top flight theatrical entertainment to District 3. If you're reading this and you have yet to discover the magic on offer at Hoghton, you're missing out. I look forward to your next production with bated breath! 

Many thanks again and keep up the good work. 

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