Tag Archives: Amateur Dramatics

Taking comedy very seriously

We take our comedy very seriously at BaCStage. You have to play comedy absolutely straight or it just isn’t funny.


‘Allo ‘Allo presents some interesting new challenges, not least of which is to portray a group of characters who are well known and much loved from off the telly (explainer for our young reader: “the telly” is “YouTube for old people”). We can’t just impersonate the originals; we must find the characters for ourselves.

Ron, yesterday

Some of the cast are going to great lengths to find their characters. Chairman Ron, for example, has already been on three holidays this year.  Historical accounts of World War II don’t give much detail on how long the occupying German forces in France spent topping up their suntans, but Ron generally knows what he’s doing so far be it from me to question his methods.

Peaky Blinder
There has been ein mistake…

Our Herr Flick, meanwhile, has been all the way to Berlin in search of inspiration (good luck claiming that on expenses – Ed).  We’re not sure he’s read the stage directions, or even the script at all for that matter, but on the other hand should the Peaky Blinders ever decamp to Germany he’ll be in with a good shout of getting a part.

Back at the Old Day School rehearsals have been progressing, but not always in the right direction.  One of us thought we were putting on Das Boot, while some others decided to enact Brexit through the medium of interpretive dance.

Das Boot

However, Herr Direktor Gordon is on the case.  When the actors step out of line he gets off the case, gets onto the stage and directs with ruthless efficiency.

Listen very carefully
Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once…

BaCStage presents ‘Allo ‘Allo ~ April 2019

This amateur production of ‘Allo ‘Allo is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD.


Listen very carefully… we have Wonderful news!

It’s been a bit quiet round BaCStage Towers lately.  We have mostly been melting in the heat.  You know the heat wave has gone on too long when even the trashy papers can’t be bothered with headlines about it being hotter than Rio / Madrid / Mallorca / Mordor / the centre of the sun / the fires of hell / my pants (delete as appropriate).

However, lack of outward signs of activity does not mean we haven’t been busy.  Besides wilting, and avidly following / avoiding / ignoring the recent World Cup (remember that?) we have been busily working on our next two – yes, two! – productions.

A timeless classic, with a twist

Firstly, after successful auditions in June we have cast It’s a Wonderful Life for our Autumn 2018 production.  Rehearsals started last week, and we’re delighted to welcome another newcomer, Alan.  The full cast will be published here soon.

It’s a Wonderful Life, based on the timeless classic Frank Capra film, has been adapted as a “radio on stage” play by Tony Palermo.  The performance focuses on the voice characterisations of over 30 characters by just eleven actors, so most of us will be doubling, tripling or even quadrupling up on the number of parts we play.  Will we be able to pull it off?  Come along in October to find out!

An English farce with a European story line

Looking further ahead, in April 2019 we are planning a production of ‘Allo, ‘Allo.  Written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, the same authors as the hit TV show, the stage version of ‘Allo ‘Allo plays like a feature-length, “greatest hits” version of the sitcom featuring favourite characters – and jokes – that made it such a big success.  It is also very timely – what could be more appropriate as our first post-Br*x*t production than an English farce with a European story line?

We will be holding open auditions for ‘Allo ‘Allo in November (once we’ve completed It’s a Wonderful Life) with a view to casting it before Christmas* and starting rehearsals early in the new year.

Social media in “positive outcome” shock

In more good news, we’d like to thank Manda for coming forward and volunteering to help us with our treasurer vacancy after seeing our advert on that there internet.  Thank you Manda!

Stay tuned for more details on all things BaCStage…

* apologies for using the C-word in early August, and for using the B-word at all, in any context, ever.

It’s a Wonderful Life, being an actor

Our autumn production for 2018 is to be It’s a Wonderful Life, a “radio on stage play” adaptation of the classic movie.

Our regular reader will know that we planned to put this on last year but were unable to do so due to a lack of available acting talent at the time.  It’s such a good show though that we’re determined to make it happen this time round.

Peter in Virtue Triumphant (2016)

We will be holding open auditions on June 28th and 30th at the Old Day School in Bluntisham. All are welcome to come along and read for a part.  No prior acting experience is necessary and you don’t need to prepare anything beforehand – just come along to the ODS, have a chat with Peter the director and meet some of us in a relaxed and friendly setting.  We’ll be reading excerpts from the script, chosen by Peter to showcase each of the characters in the play.  There may even be tea and biscuits!

All welcome – no experience necessary

You can mix the drinks for you and Sandra
Zoë and me in Breezeblock Park (2011)

Now, you might be thinking that this acting lark looks like fun but you’re not sure if it’s really for you.  I know I thought that before I joined BaCStage.  I saw several shows and was tempted to get involved but never quite got around to it until Zoë persuaded me to give it a try.  I made my stage debut in Breezeblock Park (having never done any acting before) and the rest, as they say, is history.  The only regret I have is that I didn’t get involved sooner.

Don’t just take my word for it though – here is what one of our newest members Gary had to say about his BaCStage debut as Count Puchlik in our most recent production:

Secondary Cause of Death was the first play or any form of acting that I’d done since 1986. Having never acted as an adult or worked closely with a group like BaCStage that regularly put on performances I didn’t really know what to expect when Luke invited me along to the ODS back in August.

Gary as Count Puchlik, Secondary Cause of Death (2018)

You have all been so welcoming, patient, supportive and amazing to work and be with. There was never any criticism from anyone only suggestions or alternative ways of performing, delivering a line, moving on stage or interacting with another character. It was always done with positivity and encouragement. I couldn’t have asked for anything more or anything better.

It’s now been 3 days since we departed Bagshot House and I find myself on a Tuesday with an huge empty hole where it once stood. This has been a fantastic experience and I feel completely deflated now that we’re no longer meeting for rehearsals or performances. I walked into Cambridge at lunchtime today and went through my lines, not out loud as I’d probably be arrested, but I really miss Puchlik and the rest of the cast of characters in this play.

So, really all I wanted to say to each of you was THANK YOU for welcoming me into your family and for delivering what we and the audience agreed was a great show.

If you’d like a piece of that for yourself, come along and meet us in June!

It's a Wonderful Life

About It’s a Wonderful Life:

Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed and directed by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life first appeared in cinemas in 1946. Today it is considered a timeless classic, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of all time. Although not originally intended as a Christmas movie it has become synonymous with the festive season. It tells the story of George Bailey, a selfless man who dedicates his life to helping others in his home town of Bedford Falls. Events conspire against him until he concludes he’d be worth more dead than alive, and contemplates suicide. At this point his guardian angel Clarence intervenes to show him just how much he means to his family and friends and that his is truly a wonderful life.

Above and below stairs at Bagshot House

Two weeks ago (already!) we completed our successful run of Secondary Cause of Death.  You can see photos of the production itself over in our production photos section.  Here are some pictures from behind the scenes before, during and after the show.

We’ve finally broken him, if not his sets.  Long-time set-builder and occasional gorilla Nick is retiring to the seaside.  This could well be the last BaCStage show he is actively involved in.  It is indeed the end of an era.


Nick’s construction legacy will live on, though.  We have many instructions to follow.  Whether this bunch of numpties is capable of following instructions remains to be seen, of course.


You couldn’t run us off another dozen or so handrails before you go, could you Nick?

The pace on set-up day was relentless.

Setup daySetup day

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – tea does not drink itself.

Lady Isadora’s hair took almost as long to construct as the rest of the set.

Lady Isadora

We are sticklers for attention to detail at BaCStage including, on this occasion, authentic wartime hosiery.


It was a warm one on opening night.  Fortunately the BaCStage fan club was in attendance.

Fan club

Time for a little game.  Spot the ball?  No.  Spot the dog?  No.  It’s…

Spot the...

… spot the lighting engineer!  He’s in there somewhere.

Spoiler alert – the next couple of photos are plot-spoilers.  Even if you didn’t see the show, you might be able to guess from other posts and photos which plot points they are giving away.  If you did see the show and you still can’t work it out, I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader…

It’s that “bloody” nurse again!

And now, dear reader, we face the final curtain – and what a curtain it is!  It takes seven people just to iron it!

The Curtain Gang 2018

It’s curtains for that lot, and indeed for this production.  A big “well done” to everyone involved, and an enormous “thank you” to everyone who has supported us.

Right then, time to get started on the next one.  More details coming very soon…

Voosh… no more Inspector Pratt!

The storm clouds gathered over Bagshot House on Saturday night but there was barely a drop of rain, much less the snow that features in the plot.  Subsequently it was another warm one for both our near-capacity audience and actors alike.

Director Ron giving the customary end-of-show speech

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came to see Secondary Cause of Death across the three nights.  We couldn’t put on the shows we do without you.  We had bumper crowds each night, and if you had half as much fun watching as we had putting this show together then you’ll have had a jolly spiffing time.  Don’t worry if you lost the plot along the way – this Pratt still hasn’t worked it out!

So is that the last we’ll see of Inspector Pratt?  Not nessa…celery.

Pratt aficionados will already know that Murdered to Death and Secondary Cause of Death are the first two parts of a trilogy.  Part three, Death by Fatal Murder, takes place in the winter of 1940.  Pratt meets the new owner of the house, Nancy Allwright, and soon he is embroiled in more mystery, aided and abetted by Miss Maple and Constable Thomkins.  Upper-crust Ginny and Italian gigolo Enzo help with enquiries but danger soon looms with an unexpected arrival, and a frightening suggestion by Welsh busybody Blodwyn Morgan.

Never fear whilst a Pratt is near!

Hot stuff!

HotStuffIt was another warm one last night. If you were in the audience and feeling the heat, spare a thought for the actors – those stage lights push out more heat than a three-bar electric heater, inside an oven, in a glass house full of chilli plants on a hot sunny day… on fire. If the Inspector had fastened up his coat we’d have had boil-in-the-bag Pratt.  Still, it wouldn’t be Britain if we weren’t complaining that the weather was too hot / cold / wet / dry (delete as appropriate).

Whatever the weather, we’ll be doing it all one last time tonight.  It’s your last chance to find out who is the murderous miscreant of Bagshot House!

(the sequel to Murdered to Death)
by Peter Gordon
April 19th, 20th & 21st 2018 ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets still available

You can buy your tickets online at TicketSource

Book now
or in person at Bluntisham Service Station

Tickets are £8 in advance, or £8.50 on the door.

SecondaryCOD-18- Leaflet

One down…


That’s one performance, not one murder victim – we have many more of those already!

Last night we opened our run with a successful, if rather warm, show.  Was it really only a month ago that we had weather much more appropriate for our wintery plot?

Come rain, snow, sleet, hail or unseasonal warmness, we’ll be doing it all again this evening.  Why not pack yourself a nice cold drink and come along and join us!

(the sequel to Murdered to Death)
by Peter Gordon
April 19th, 20th & 21st 2018 ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets still available

You can buy your tickets online at TicketSource

Book now
or in person at Bluntisham Service Station

Tickets are £8 in advance, or £8.50 on the door.

SecondaryCOD-18- Leaflet

Back in time for murder!

Welcome to Bagshot House, 1939.


We are taking you back in time to before WWII when Britannia ruled the waves and the upper classes ruled Britannia; when those below stairs knew their deferential place and those born into privilege sensed their own entitlement.  It’s the will of the people, don’tcha know!

Colonel Craddock

Take Colonel Charles Craddock, for example.  He may appear to be an affable old duffer who only has a few marbles rattling about upstairs, but if he doesn’t like the cut of your jib he’ll take his twelve-bore to you and no mistake!

After the previous goings on at Bagshot House in Murdered to Death Colonel Craddock now owns the old pile and runs it as a hotel for the discerning guest – none of your riff-raff here.

Staying with the Colonel on this occasion are


Count Puchlik

Count Puchlik of Puszczykowo, a Polish Gentleman who has grave fears for the future of his people and his country in the face of Herr Hitler and his massed ranks of Panzers,



Cynthia Maple

Cynthia Maple, who uses Bagshot House to stage murder mystery weekends based on the cases of her sister, local amateur sleuth Joan Maple,



Cardew Longfellow

Cardew Longfellow, a thespian employed by Cynthia Maple to play a leading role in her latest re-enactment,



Lady Isadora

Lady Isadora Pollock, who read about the Bagshot House murder mystery weekends in The Times and simply had to be a part of one,



Capt. Henrietta

and Capt. Henrietta Woolmer-Cardington, an ATS Officer dispatched by British Intelligence to assess Bagshot House’s suitability as a secret Ops centre should Mister Hitler start causing any trouble


The question is – are any of these people really who they appear to be?


Then there are Colonel Craddock’s domestic staff. Is Martha just the housekeeper, or is she keeping secrets from the rest of the household? What is Larry Tuthill cooking up in the kitchen besides the meals?  And what exactly is the nature of the relationship between Colonel Craddock and Nurse Parsley?

Inspector Pratt

Last, and definitely least, there is Inspector Pratt. At least one of this ensemble is exactly what he appears to be.

The storm clouds of war are gathering over Europe.  Will this be Pratt’s finest hour, or will he make an even bigger mess of things than last time?  If you’re the discerning type, why not pay a visit to Bagshot House and find out?

Bagshot House opens its doors to paying guests tonight!

(the sequel to Murdered to Death)
by Peter Gordon
April 19th, 20th & 21st 2018 ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets on sale now

You can buy your tickets online at TicketSource

Book now
or in person at Bluntisham Service Station

Tickets are £8 in advance, or £8.50 on the door.

SecondaryCOD-18- Leaflet

We’ll meet again…

…but unlike Vera, we know where and we know when as Bluntisham Village Hall is transformed into Bagshot House for Secondary Cause of Death this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday!

Set-up day was the usual hive of frenetic activity.


If you stand around long enough, eventually someone will put a cup of tea in your hand.

While Ash and Ron tried to figure out what was missing from this door frame, Nick removed a large gnome from beneath the stage.


We were pleased to see several of our younger members coming along to help with set-up.  Of course, teenagers being what they are, there was a fair amount of this going on.


There were plenty of responsible adults around to set a better example.


Not this particular adult, though.  Kids today, eh?

To be fair, the BaCStage Yoof did do a lot of useful work during set-up.  They also did things like this:


…?  Me neither.

“Cut an inch off the top of that door” he said.  “How hard can it be?” he said.


Sometimes the first cut is not the deepest.

Was there a sighting of a handrail?  Handrails are notoriously nervous and fickle beasts, no doubt because of the persecution they’ve suffered in recent years.  Even the most patient of photographers knows better than to wait around for one – much better to set up a camera trap overnight.


We got one!

It’s been a year since we last erected the stage. At the time, Peter wrote some assembly instructions in permanent pen, then chalked in some instructions on how to use the instructions.


Despite this, he still managed to glue himself to the stage. Nick had to resort to drastic measures to free him.


If anyone finds Peter’s left foot, he’d like it back.

Thanks to everyone’s marvellous efforts we now have the stage set for a “killer” show:

Bagshot House

The last word goes to director Ron:


Now for the village hall!  We do hope you can join us.

(the sequel to Murdered to Death)
by Peter Gordon
April 19th, 20th & 21st 2018 ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets on sale now

You can buy your tickets online at TicketSource

Book now
or in person at Bluntisham Service Station

Tickets are £8 in advance, or £8.50 on the door.

SecondaryCOD-18- Leaflet

Buy tickets in advance and get a free* entry in the raffle

Production week is here again!  The Bagshot House library, scene of the crimes in Secondary Cause of Death, is taking shape thanks to the tireless efforts of our set-builders.

“When’s the raffle?”

Don’t worry, they know what they’re doing.  More on that in the next post.

Tickets for Secondary Cause of Death are on sale now, both online and also from Bluntisham Service Station.  You will also be able to buy tickets on the door, but the eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that if you buy your tickets in advance they are a little bit cheaper.

Secondary Cause of Death

See what I mean?

You may be wondering “why have they done that”?  Well, if you’re familiar with Blunty Village Hall you’ll know that there’s no permanent seating, so we put out tables and chairs for each show.  At our last production, kick-off was delayed as we hunted around trying to find more chairs.  So, the more people who buy tickets in advance, the better we know how many chairs to put out – simple as that.  If you buy two tickets beforehand, you’ll save a pound which you can then spend on raffle tickets!  Sorted.

Don’t worry if you do turn up on the night though, you will still be most welcome.  We’ll put out some extra chairs just in case.  As Oleta Adams once said, we don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can!  (As the water levels on the River Great Ouse have dropped in the past few days, getting here by sailboat may not be your best option – Travel Ed).

(the sequel to Murdered to Death)
by Peter Gordon
April 19th, 20th & 21st 2018 ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets on sale now

You can buy your tickets online at TicketSource

Book now
or in person at Bluntisham Service Station

Tickets are £8 in advance, or £8.50 on the door.

SecondaryCOD-18- Leaflet