The Garrick whips up a whirlwind of farcical fun at Nelson's ACE Centre

Liz Rowell, Marina Butterworth and David McKinlay's farcical take on an iconic scene from Shakespeare's Macbeth. Photography by Colin Antill Photographer. (s)
Liz Rowell, Marina Butterworth and David McKinlay's farcical take on an iconic scene from Shakespeare's Macbeth. Photography by Colin Antill Photographer. (s)

Expect a whirlwind of fun in this comical play being presented by The Garrick this week.

The theatre group is back with a hilarious rendition of a much-loved farce that’s a bit of a mouthful - The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Macbeth.

Mike McKeown glams up as theatre competition judge George Peach. Photography by Colin Antill Photographer. (s)

Mike McKeown glams up as theatre competition judge George Peach. Photography by Colin Antill Photographer. (s)

The production, written by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr, follows the mayhem and mishaps of putting on a serious show.

This time round, the fictional Farndale ladies are taking on William Shakespeare’s classic Scottish drama, Macbeth, in an attempt to land a place in the Welwyn Garden City Local Area Drama Finals.

But as always with this scatterbrained bunch, nothing ever runs smoothly...

As for The Garrick, the real-life show certainly doesn’t skimp on fun.

Marina Butterworth, always a natural on stage, was last seen in the role of Mrs Phoebe Reece last April for the Colne Dramatic Society.

She shined in the festive-themed production at Colne’s Little Theatre, which saw the Farndale women stumble their way through Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol.

Performing this time round in Nelson, Marina once again made for a warm and bubbly character.

Kathleen Riley, always a comedy favourite, brought another barrel of laughs to the show as Minnie Rushton, the actress who loses her voice on the opening night.

Actress Joan Rogers made for a strong Thelma Grant - a serious Farndale thespian with a short fuse - who lands the starring role of Macbeth.

A super comedy trio was found in Marilyn Jones, Liz Rowell and Samm Antill. Playing Dawn Dane, Felicity Agnew and Kate Parry-Jones, respectively, otherwise known as the three witches of Macbeth, they added plenty of fun and madness.

In particular, Liz’s facial expressions painted a brilliant picture of Felicity’s exasperation at the gaffes going on around her.

Ken Entwistle was terrific as the plummer-come-Lady Macbeth while strong performances came from David McKinlay and Mike McKeown in the supporting roles of theatre producer Henry and competition judge George Peach.

Despite the fictional bloopers, real-life director Gordon Ingleby did a top job of putting together a smooth-running show.

Well done also to the entire production team, which comprises: Howard Rogers; Giles Williams; Nigel Catterall; Trevor Riley; Dave Preedy; David Climpson; Ian Wilson; Christian Thornber; Jayne Elsby; Anne Dunlop; Madeline Masters; Frances Singleton; Richard I’Anson; Paul Thompson; ACE Centre staff; Jean Green; Eileen Antyll; Prue Wilkinson; Pam Baxter; The Garrick team; Noreen Lobo; Kevin Kay; Lynne Atkinson; Colin Antill; and David Lewis.

Strangely, the farcical world of the Farndale ladies serves as a great tonic to today’s reality which at times seems just as silly.

Photo credit: Colin Antill Photographer.

Performances run from tonight until Saturday at 7-30pm nightly at The ACE Centre, Nelson.

Tickets: 01282 661234; adults £12; senior citizens £11; and juniors £8. Season tickets: 07788 554939.