It’s a French Thing…or Oldfield’s got talent!

Primrose Hill Neighbours Help volunteers and members have been busy again with a theatrical farce written and directed by local Terry Ford, alongside the new Primrose Hill Players and many talented tenants of the Oldfield sheltered housing estate (Jacqueline, Carol and Marion Houses). Total teamwork, enthusiasm and fun.

Here is a review from Jacqueline House resident and audience member, Margaret!

The dining area of Jacqueline House was transformed by Phil Reavey’s imaginative and colourful set into a French cafe with red and white check tablecloths donated by I’Absinthe our local French restaurant.

In two hilarious sell-out performances on 24th and 25th January, residents and friends were treated to a witty script, mayhem, hilarious characters, silliness, laughter and joie de vivre.

The ludicrously improbable plot revolved around a tipsy party, colourful costumes, a gate crasher, a fluffy dog, a hat box and a bomb scare!  As ‘Mrs Prendergast’ David Crowson (Jacqueline House) was unrecognised in a pert wig, mini flocks with cleavage, high- heeled sneakers, a garden party hat and her flatty dog, smuggled in a hat-box.  She minced, tottered, shrieked and flirted with the audience – a superb comic turn when she lost her wig and ze ‘bomber’ was revealed!

William Prendergast (Jacqueline – and no relation!!!), was splendid as the sharp-suited maitre d’ with a huge sometimes precarious black moustache, a cute beret and a Fawlty-like telephone manner, while dealing with Mrs P and her dog!

Adrian Hemmings (Carol) as the harassed detective in a raincoat and a splendid hat was superb.  He read his line from his note book – last minute stage fright was a bonus that added to the comedy for me.

In the background, guests (Jacqueline, Carole, Marion) made very merry with (real) wine and champagne generously supplied by a debonair wine steward (Mike O’Hara – Marion) in an eye-catching apron, while a waitress (Debbie Collins) rushed around waving mums in a cute red beret. The guest were transformed as generals in hired military costumes, brilliant in brass, braid and scarlet, tipsily toasting ‘Vive la France!’ while ignoring the Farce in the foreground. The ladies were gorgeous in velvet and polka dots.

It was totally crazy entertainment and teamwork. I was reminded of the dreadful Lena Lamont in Singing in the Rain. “We bring a little joy into your dull and humdrum lives!”

The next production is being planned. Oldfield has talent ! Watch the space……

With thanks to:

SETS:                                     Phil Reavey (Jacqueline House)

SOUND EFFECTS:              Bob Hawke – professional jazz musician (Carol House)

AFTER-SHOW PARTY:       Organised by our Kay (Jacqueline House).  More merry-making,

BARMAN:                              Paul Nye

PHOTOGRAPHS:                 Richard Higgins (Oldfield Estate Manager)

VIDEO:                                   David Simpson    (Staff Member)

REVIEW:                                Margaret  Leibbrandt (Jacqueline House resident)

Credit is also due to Alan Bennett who kindly read the script and said it made him laugh – which gave a boost to Terry.