The Darling Buds of May (Winton Players)
Festival Hall, Petersfield
Friday, May 13
It was bound to be a surefire hit: a gentle comedy with loveable characters, in a countryside setting of hay barns, gymkhanas, bluebells, strawberries and warm beer.
Many people remember the television version with David Jason as Pop Larkin, the wheeling dealing happy family man; a larger than life character who finds the good in everything and everyone, giving the tweedy village ladies a quick thrill and a cheeky cocktail, and shaking his head in wonder at the toffs and their daftness.
Simon Stanley did a very good interpretation of the character while Sarah Dove made a lovely, warm, Ma Larkin (making an entire pie and knitting during scenes didn’t faze her at all) – good casting there.
The younger children were all great – well done Nikolai Gibbons, Jacy Martin, Libby Bridges, Faith Parker and Alisha Jenkins – they all looked very natural onstage.
Sarah Melville as Marietta and Lawrence Cook as Mr Charlton (showing a nice bit of comedy drunkenness) made a good couple.
The rest are caricatures but great fun to play. Sue Port had em rolling in the aisles as tweedy Miss Pilchester getting all weak at the knees for a Pop snog, while Roamy Terry had enormous fun as Angela Snow, the toff with a twinkle in her eye, Phill Humphries as the Brigadier and John Edwards as Sir George Bluff-Gore didn’t overplay their characters, while Joff Lacey, Julie Blackwell and Amy Perkins were obviously enjoying themselves.
The set was outstanding, conjuring up a warm summer’s afternoon with rolling fields in the distance and a tree shaded table in the garden, leading to a cosy kitchen. Perfick.