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Amazing Review for 'All the Great Books (Abridged)'!

Following a very successful opening weekend of our ongoing show, All the Great Books (Abridged) we have received a glowing review from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association's Robin Cooper! At the time of posting, we still have tickets available for our upcoming second weekend of performances, so get your tickets now whilst you still have chance!

Society Name: Shawbury Village Players

District: Two

Title of Production: All The Great Books (Abridged)

Production Reviewed by: Robin Cooper

Date of Review: Friday 30th September

Director: Ben Leach

Assistant Director: Grace Jackson

Producer: Catherine Church

Stage Manger: Tracy Fone

If you fancy a 90-minute roller coaster of fun that only pauses for the interval then All The Great Books (Abridged) performed by Shawbury Village Players has it all.

Set in an American high school a random assortment of faculty members set about teaching the history of literature as the audience (known as remedial literature class 101), cram for an end of term exam. The Drama Professor (Clare Nicholson), The Gym Coach (Jennie Dunn) and an enthusiastic Student Teacher (Callum Jinks) certainly had no room for any errors in this fast paced and frivolously comic play.

Their attempts to inform the audience involved slapstick skits, a multitude of costume changes and a large amount of props. Well done to Stage Manager Tracey Fone and her back stage crew for keeping it all under control on the shows opening night. I am sure the resetting of props and costumes for the next performance is a full on task.

For an opening performance this play was well rehearsed, with good delivery of dialogue, great comic timing and most importantly sustained energy through out. The three performers made ‘scripted’ improvising look easy and despite just the occasional stumble over a few words, the opening night was truly appreciated by the class of 2022.

There were some memorable moments such as the explanation of ‘Little Women’ described in the form of a professional sports team, the Trojan Horse who appeared as a traditional pantomime horse, a Spanish version of Don Quixote (with an English translation provided), the multiple interpretations of Walden, War and Peace (at least the pages that had been read, in little under 10 minutes!) and of course an introduction to famous female writers in the form of Blind Date (complete with an unsuspecting member of the audience in the third seat). Did I also mention the Odyssey, the Cyclops and the throwing of miniature dolls into the audience and the ringing of the school bell with Coach shouting “that bells for me and not for you”!

The musical interludes added much amusement to the scenes through themes such as Jaws, The Pink Panther and Downton Abbey. The introduction provided by the onstage announcement via a radio helped to set the scene, along with the black board containing an unfinished game of hangman. I was greatly amused by watching the ladies in front of me work it out, only for them to be sent into childish hilarity once the anatomical answer had been revealed.

The final sequence of the play gave us an amazing performance by Callum Jinks who provided one-liners to around 30 book titles, literally thrown at him by fellow performers Clare Nicholson and Jennie Dunn, in just a few minutes, all without the aid of a prompt.

Watching this play you do have to be ready because it’s like being shot out of cannon at great speed to keep up with all of the jokes but a fun night of entertainment and a real crowd


I look forward to seeing what Shawbury Village Players have in store next.

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