A play in a play – sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? That’s what we were entertained with last night at our small local theatre, The Studio, when we went to see Gosforth’s Fete, written by the incomparable Alan Ayckbourn. Well known as a writer, actor and director, he was awarded the CBE in 1987, and Knighted for 'service to theatre' in 1997.
Publican Gordon Gosforth is in charge of running the village fete, to raise money for a new village hall. While trying to get the public address system to work, Milly, the village school teacher drops a bombshell. Their one night stand has resulted in pregnancy. Milly is engaged to the gawky Cub Master, and he, together with the whole village, hears the shocking news over the loud speakers. The gala is severely disrupted by rain, and most of the local amateur dramatic society cannot get over the bridge to perform their Greek tragedy. The teetotal Cub Master gets drunk, and his cub pack runs amok in the mud.
But it gets worse. The villagers are roped in to help out in the performance of “Oedocles, King of Thebes”. A what a performance it is. The publican sports a black eye and his arm in a sling, together with his toga. Milly, playing the sister of the recently deceased wife of the King, is attacked and suffers a “fate worse than death”. She exacts her revenge on the king’s masculinity with a with a pair of hedge cutters - ouch!!
As the advertising says, “Gosfoth’s Fete starts as a drama, develops into well choreographed chaos, and climaxes as a full blown farce”. All good fun and full of laughs, just what we all need after a hard week at work.