Funeral Tea and Knightsbridge – two one-act plays by The Saints Dramatic Society, Allesley Village Hall, Coventry 21 – 25 May.
We Brits love a nice cup of tea and there was definitely a tea theme running through the Saints Dramatic Society’s latest production of two one-act plays directed by Juliana Swain.
Funeral Tea by Pat Wilson and Knightsbridge by John Mortimer are two gentle comedies, one set up in Yorkshire, the second in Knightsbridge.
In Funeral Tea we have four ladies, dressed in their best funeral attire, paying their respects to Uncle Jacob whose ashes they are to scatter on the cricket pitch.
Set in the early 1970s when tea was just 8 pence a quarter, these four ladies – Miss Starkie (Jess Divine), Miss Parker (Ellie Hill), Mrs Murgatroyd (Jayne Batstone) and Mrs Booth (Kate Hill) are being waited on hand and foot by Mrs Ellis (Jan Eardley) who is keeping the teapot nicely topped up as the four ladies drink tea, eat cucumber sandwiches and talk about their dear departed uncle.
With synchronised teacups, the four dignified ladies in black with the ever-patient Mrs Ellis on hand with a fresh pot of tea, find their nice little afternoon tea party soon taking a dramatic turn for the worse – which the audience certainly loved! No spoilers but the twist in the tale is certainly worth waiting for.
This is The Saints Dramatic Society’s 168th production, and the society is in its 60th year of regularly producing plays three times a year, providing a wonderful variety of productions.
There’s also a delightful atmosphere when going to a Saint’s production. It’s friendly and welcoming with tea and biscuits actually brought to your seat in the interval.
To the audience’s delight, this time the refreshments were served by Mrs Murgatroyd and Mrs Booth still in their funeral black.
Visitors will appreciate the humour of this after watching the performance – but as promised, no spoilers! The Saints also run a raffle, with the proceeds going to a nominated charity. The proceeds from this production will go to Parkinsons UK.
The next play was Knightsbridge, again set in a parlour, this time a rather up-market property near Harrods in the early 1960s.
Here we meet the slightly naive and spoilt Francesca Stokes (Jess Divine) bringing her fiancé Henry Bulstrode (John Pease) home to meet mother (Lucinda Toomey) for the first time. With a rather more elaborate tea set, these characters soon completely get the wrong end of the stick as to how mother actually keeps Francesca in the lifestyle she is accustomed to.
A visit from a rather seedy individual in a Mackintosh (Paul Hayes) adds to the confusion and hilarity.
A very clever and witty script delivered brilliantly by the cast, and an unexpected twist in the tail that you really don’t see coming until the very last minute.
Two great little plays and an excellent – and rather British night out. More tea anyone?
Box Office: 07927 319985. Tickets £7 and £6 concessions.