Stirling Community Theatre
Until 18 Mar 2017

Review by Anthony Vawser

Variety revues are a prospect both safer and riskier than a full-length narrative play. After a less-than-fully-convincing start, this one certainly hit its stride in the home stretch, and is a sure bet to put a smile on your face.

Tim Williams (aka MC Sporran) makes for an expectedly affable host, gently joking and consciously bumbling his through the evening. “The Ugly Duckling” by AA Milne is the first one-act presentation of the night; under the direction of Peter Bleby, it features a strong cast (including Kim Clark and Lindy LeCornu) performing a text that didn’t really translate to this reviewer, though the quality acting keeps it pleasant enough.

A sketch that is *not* Monty Python was well-intentioned though rather laboured in execution; rounding out the opening half are a quite marvellous magician (aka Amusionist) by the name of Jon McKay, a charming Aussie Gleeman named Old Jack (aka John R Sabine), and a mystery guest whom we wouldn’t dream of revealing here…

Post-interval, the one-act material improves with Claudene Rease’s “Wanted: One Groom”, a cute little comedy of misadventure and mistaken identity, nicely directed by Judy Sampson, and featuring a particularly strong performance from Ella Heywood-Smith. A stand-up routine from Nick Stagg produces some very solid laughs, while David Salter and his uproarious ventriloquist act simply runs away with the entire evening; he demonstrates that an apple a day can be good for much more than simply keeping the doctor away!

Michael Green’s “Streuth” is like a one-act version of the famed “Noises Off”, and makes for an absolutely hilarious end to the evening. The likes of Georgia Stockham, Matt Houston, Rachel Burfield, and Steve Marvanek (amongst others) are directed by Tim Williams in a symphony of orchestrated chaos that has to be seen to be believed…

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)