Some of Dorset's best known names have come together under the umbrella of theatre magic-makers The Truly Useless Group to form the [Alderholt] Amateur Players Theatre Company. They will officially launch the new company next week when they present a sparkling new thriller The Lady Varnishes at the KIng's Theatre, Bradford Peverell [Thursday - Saturday at 7.30, matinee Saturday at 2pm. Strictly no dogs or children].
The play - an adaptation of the well-known Fine Wood Care French-Polish Classic - has been completely re-thought for the theatre. As Director Roy Mars-Barr writes in the programme note: "The story of Jay Kloth, the woman who broke through the barrier of male chauvinism amongst emigre fine furniture finishers in Lychett Minster in 1958 to become the first female to do it on a rosewood table is, of course, extremely well-known. For this reason we had to find a new angle on the story and we believe we have done so: in our version (updated to 1960) the rosewood table is in fact a Vintage Teak Sideboard by Ib Kofod-Larsen specially designed for G-Plan. By introducing a Scandi-noir element and an edgily contemporary feel to the drama in this way, we believe we have enhanced a classic - as indeed did Ms Kloth when she first put buffer to wood. She faced a stiff challenge when she began working with wood amongst a bunch of hardened men. That was her speciality challenge and achievement, and we have tried to bring an appropriate sense of danger, excitement and absurdity to proceedings. We have also been very careful in the way we have sought to bring the male characters off on stage. It is, in essence, a very feminine play but we didn't want to neglect the laddishness and overt masculinity of the original story or neglect its intrinsic humour. As Ms Kloth herself said in her posthumous autobiography "Polishing Them Off" [The Threadbone Press 2005], "It is truly remarkable what can be achieved with a firm hand and a flexible finger". We like to think we've done her justice".
The Lady Varnishes stars Imin Clubbe-Lande and Barry Threepence and features guest appearances from, amongst others, Royston Binstock and Trebor Murray-Minto. Audiences hoping to see Mrs Amanda J Threadbone take to the boards are likely to be disappointed this time round. Happily rumour has it that she may be in line for a role in a future production of Agatha Rice-Chrispie's "They Do It With Scissors" a play renowned for its "shear excitement".