Oh Clarence? Oh deary me
Oh Clarence Preston Playhouse
This comedy by John Chapman, based on the Blandings stories by PG Wodehouse and directed by Marilyn Brandwood-Spencer, is the latest offering from Preston Drama Club.
Set in Blandings Castle, home of Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, the aristocrat’s life revolves round his prize pig, The Empress, and everything else is of no consequence - a bit like the play!
Jeff Brailsford plays the bumbling Earl who relentlessly irritates Lady Constance Keeble (Carol Caine), the only sensible character on stage.
Dennis Yardley, as ancient butler Beach, brings a little Addams family humour but the star of the show is Dominic Dwyer as The Hon Freddie Threepwoood, looking every inch a hooray Henry and acting it to boot.
Lady Constance plans a weekend house party for Freddie and his athletic new love, Jennifer Parsloe-Parsloe (Hayley Moon), a contrast to wimpish Freddie.
Into the equation comes Clarence’s niece, Gertrude Wibberly (Emma Lakeland) and her chaperone Dame Daphne Winkworth (a shrill performance from Liz Proctor), here to get over an ill fated romance with a poor curate (Jonathan Knapp).
A missing Egyptian scarab throws everything into confusion as born matchmaker, Lady Constance, conspires to create a marriage between Clarence and Dame Daphne.
As in all farces nothing goes according to plan, there is chaos in the bedroom and a few shots fired before all is resolved.
Unfortunately, Wodehouse’s era is long gone and the shenanigans of the bumbling Earl and his pig seem so inconsequential.
This talented group has put on some fine shows this season.
Pity to waste their undoubted aptitude on such irrelevant nonsense.
Oh Clarence? Oh dear!
by Ellen Campbell