Season 71

Party Piece

By Richard Harris
10 - 15 September, 2018


Full gallery of photographs here


This fast-paced comedy depicts the strained relations between feuding neighbours and families. Michael, an uptight doctor, and his wife Roma decide to hold a barbecue to show off their renovated house to their friends. In the garden, Michael and Roma are making preparations for a barbecue, expecting a house full of guests to join them. Next door lives Mrs Hinson, an elderly woman. Mrs Hinson’s son, David, is trying to persuade his mother to move into more appropriate accommodation. The evening looks set to be a lively one until a string of hilarious disasters strike and things descend into disaster and chaos.


Michael Smethurst
Roma Smethurst, his wife
Mrs Hinson
David Hinson, her son
Jennifer, her daughter-in-law

Director's Notes

A lovely day in summer. Having moved into their new home two months ago, Michael and Roma Smethurst decide to hold a housewarming barbecue for their assorted friends, fancy dress obligatory.

Next door, elderly Mrs Hinson is having a visit from her son, David and his wife, Jennifer. They have a plan to move her from her home (where David was born) into a flat nearer to where they live.

Michael and Roma’s carefully organised plans start to go awry. The barbecue fuel is damp, they forgot to take the meat out of the freezer and they start getting phone calls from their ‘friends’. This is a delightful play written by Richard Harris in 1992. It is funny and fast-paced, very cleverly written and very relevant. Particularly relevant to me, as my mother has recently moved to a flat much nearer to me so that I can see her more often. I hope she doesn’t take offence when she comes to see this ….. I don’t think so, she’s settled in extremely well.

The play relies on impeccable timing, particularly in the very tricky Act II, and my wonderful cast have all put their books down impressively early so that we have been able to really work on the smoothness of the moves and timings.

The Workshop team (led by set designer Robin Green) and the Props team, have been awesomely creative and inventive – a wonderful two-storey set and ‘frozen’ sausages amongst their achievements.

A big ‘Thank You’ to Bingley Fencing Ltd who offered to lend us a shed for the production but on finding their sheds were all too large for our stage then proceeded to offer to make the ‘good one’ (the Smethursts’ shed). So, thank you very much. (The deliberately ‘notquite-so-new one’ has been made by the Workshop team.)

As ever, there is a huge team of backstage people supporting the production – and I’m sure all will go smoothly under the guiding hand of Rosemary Grainger, who is stage managing this play.

So, it just remains for me to say: Welcome to ‘Party Piece’, the first play of our new season. We hope you find it to your liking. So, sit back, and enjoy!

Gilly x


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