Thursday, May 03, 2012


Little Baddow Drama Group at the Memorial Hall

Jim Hutchon checked into the North Hill Hotel ...

Something of a departure for Little Baddow, this assembly of prose, poetry and music on the theme of hotels from all corners of the earth was, above all civilised and often thought provoking. Some of the pieces were from familiar pens – Dickens, Belloc, Trollope, Bennett (Arnold) and Bennett (Alan). But others were either totally obscure or not noted for this sort of treatise.

The five readers were Michael Gray and Rita Ronn (who co-produced the evening) plus Caroline Ogden, Ken Rolf and Allison Tibbatts. Interspersed with the readings were songs from the gifted duet of Kate Knight and Roy Sach, who provided appropriate melodious commentary on the proceedings.

Some beautifully-crafted, odd and some frankly very strange pieces reflected the wide-ranging search which had gone into the unearthing material for this. I could have done with, perhaps more variation, many of the pieces were erudite and often funny but generally delivered in standard book-reading English. There were some variations: Ken Rolf made a passable stab at Bryson American, and Michael Gray did a fair Bennett (Alan).

They managed to cram no less than 40 pieces into two stage hours, tho’ I felt the material couldn’t really sustain that length of production. Perhaps fewer, with longer pauses and a longer finger buffet interval would have helped. But this was, nonetheless a very enjoyable and civilised evening.

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