In the United Kingdom, community theaters are called amateur dramatic societies, but the challenges remain the same as in the U.S. What, other than sex and musicals, can draw audiences to amateur productions?
That is the conundrum facing a theater group in a small English town — dwindling audiences, meager ticket sales and competition from a group that produces, what else: musicals. What will become of the Little Grimley Amateur Dramatic Society? What plot twist or salacious script can restore the society to its former minor glory?
The Stratford Players presents a staged reading of David Tristram’s “Last Tango in Little Grimley” and “The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley,” effervescent and essentially English examinations of amateur theater life — behind and in front of the curtain, and in occasional dark corners.
Starring Allison Fedrick, Barbara Rayliss, Chic Fojyik and Christopher Morse, and directed by Marsha Kennedy, Stratford’s artistic head, Tristram’s short comedic romps show how hard it is to keep a stiff upper lip while the fat lady is singing. Kathy Masey stage managed the production.
Kennedy said this about the upcoming production, “It took a while to get through our first reading of the script because our actors kept stopping to laugh. Little Grimley plays have been a huge comedy hit on both sides of the Pond. We wanted to give audience members an intimate theater experience, and Café Aroma’s Gallery is perfect for that.”
Stratford presents the Little Grimley plays in the gallery at Café Aroma at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15 and 22. Tickets are $12 and are available on the Stratford website, www.stratfordplayers.com.
Café Aroma has created a special lunch and dinner menu for Stratford Sunday audiences with 20- to 30-percent discounts. With only 32 available seats, Aroma reservations are recommended.