Our pre-lunch performances began with a performance of Eating Out, one of Alan Bennett’s recollections of his childhood in Leeds. Played by Dave Barney, it was both funny and touching with the wry observation and ironic understatement that earned Bennett a place in the forefront of contemporary writing. Next up was Well, I Never Did, a spoof of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads written by Stephen Fry and Hugh Lawrie and originally performed as a television sketch on A Bit of Fry & Lawrie. Played by Phil Faiers as Bennett’s Auntie Ivy, it drew on an exaggerated perception of the English north-south divide.
Lastly we presented Auditions, an adaptation of an American play that was largely re-written for the ETC. The plot was simple the English Theatre Company were auditioning for the lead roles of Romeo and Juliet. The trouble was the hopeful actors all turned out to be hopeless. Mocking amateur theatre has become a popular genre in professional theatre in recent years with The Play That Goes Wrong and many others. Auditions was our tongue-in-cheek volte-face — amateurs mocking themselves, but hopefully in a professional manner.
We performed at three venues over two weekends and such were the encouraging plaudits that we will undoubtedly stage similar events in the future.