Ayckbourn farce for the Petworth Players

Sophie Till, Chris Ackroyd-Parr, Peter Symonds, Claire Sadler, Jez Ellis and Jan Sadler
Sophie Till, Chris Ackroyd-Parr, Peter Symonds, Claire Sadler, Jez Ellis and Jan Sadler
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George Stringer makes his directorial debut with a production of Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn for the Petworth Players from April 6-8 at 7.30pm at the Herbert Shiner Centre.

The piece tells the story of four married couples in three bedrooms over one night.

Malcolm and Kate are hosting a dinner party that the other couples are invited to. Everyone is going to be there, including Trevor and Susannah. Their marriage is on the rocks and they inflict their miseries on their nearest and dearest.

There are fights, break-ups, make-ups, flying bedside lamps and some pilchards thrown in there too…

Orchestrating it all is George: “This is my first time directing. I have been doing this for years. I have been with the Petworth Players for about seven years as an actor, but I always wanted to direct. I was just finding I was getting ideas while I was performing, and I was wanting something to put forward to direct. I suggested this, and the committee approved.

“We have got a really, really good company that listen to each other and value new ideas and fresh faces. I have watched other people directing, have seen different styles of directing, and this is just a really good fun play to do. I really enjoyed reading the script and did a lot of research on the characters.”

The set is the three bedrooms, with the action transferring between them: “One couple is hosting a dinner party, and two other couples are invited.

“There is one more couple that is more established and are the parents of another couple, and they are celebrating their wedding anniversary. But the dinner party goes disastrously wrong.

“One couple argue and have a fight. And there is a rekindled flame, and it just all explodes. The other couples have got to try to pick up the pieces. It all happens one night and the following morning. It is quite complicated to explain but is quite straightforward when you see it!

“It is set in the 70s and we have got to get the costumes right and the characters right, and the set has got to be appropriate to the time. But I love it. I just did my research and read it and loved it.”

George is an Ayckbourn fan: “It’s real. He writes such relatable characters. It is so easy to follow and everyone can relate to someone.”

George predicts that once it hits the stage, part of him will wish he was actually in it.

“It has been very different for me, directing for the first time. It feels weird not being up there with all my friends, but it has been great fun. I have found the whole thing a really good experience and have enjoyed doing it.”

By day, George, who lives in Midhurst, works at the Wrenford Centre, a day centre for adults with learning difficulties in Chichester: “I love it. I am a real people person. You can really see a result with what you are doing. I know I am helping them and I enjoy the sessions I run.”

Tickets from www.petworthplayers.co.uk or from the Angel Inn, Petworth or from the Baytree Bakery, Petworth.

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