Dukeries dazzle with top show

The cast of Bazaar and Rumage
The cast of Bazaar and Rumage

Dukeries Theatre Group staged their latest production at the Acorn Theatre, Worksop and it was a play with a difference

Bazaar and Rummage is by Sue Townsend, better known for her books on Adrian Mole, the Queen and latterly Camilla.

Her play Bazaar and Rummage features a self-help group for agoraphobics and Sue’s witty and thought-provoking social commentary is a masterful.

Unusually for DTG this was an all-woman cast of six.

It being a Sue Townsend work it was obviously going to provide them with the chance to play comedy roles, but in this case, with varying shades of dark and light.

Alison Betteridge and Jolene Fletcher played the volunteer and trainee social workers Gwenda and Fliss. Alison’s portrayal of a hyperactive, but well-meaning ex-agoraphobic was admirable.

You felt you needed to take her to a quiet room for a calming cup of tea.

Jolene, in her debut performance with DTG, played the apparently calm Fliss beautifully, only in the latter stages of the play revealing a neurotic side to her character by turning into a jittering wreck at the mention of suburbia, hedges and flower borders.

Trudi Jackson was Katrina, the ex-variety singer.

I say ‘was’ because Trudi totally and unselfconsciously becomes her characters.

I’ve still not forgotten her Rita in Educating Rita in a previous production and she did it again here. She was agonisingly neurotic, but so funny too.

Ina Clarke, as Bell-Bell, was an inspired choice. Although not a regular player I would love to see more of her.

She played an obsessive house-cleaning agoraphobic with great sensitivity.

Heather Carroll goes from one extreme to another, playing Lady Chesapeake in Big Bad Mouse to this play’s Margaret who is a working class, foul-mouthed, chain-smoking mother of a thoroughly bad lad.

As the character with the most poignant story to tell, Heather played the role of Margaret with extreme delicacy and bravery. Donna Arnold as the fearful police-woman crumpled with style.

It seemed that no-one was without a hang-up of some kind.

What a brilliant play!

Another feather in the cap for Dukeries Theatre Group.

Move over Alan Ayckbourne - you’ve got competition.

By Wendy Fidoe

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