Little Baddow Drama at the Memorial Hall
Bob Larbey's soft-core sitcom tells a familiar tale of broken promises, missed deadlines and endless tea-breaks – awakening painful memories for anyone who has ever had the builders in.
Ken Rolf's assured production has a splendidly solid set, complete with scaffolding and a cement mixer, as well as a very convincing cast of characters.
Little Baddow veteran John Peregrine plays David, glib boss of the local construction company, erecting a baroque edifice of excuses and placating his frustrated customers with gamebirds, rabbits and oysters. His men – boasting builders' bellies and boots – were excellently done by James Oakley as Mark, the wryly comic John Mabey as Piper, and Mike Gordon as the elusive chippie Brian, using his newly sharpened tools to construct a ham sandwich.
The young couple – who want an extension to welcome their new baby – were Martin Lucas as the wimpish, spineless schoolteacher Jim, and Sara Thompson as his long-suffering wife Mary; the look on her face as she returned triumphant from her pregnancy test was a touching, memorable moment in a piece not long on subtlety.
And I liked the three lads on the garden bench, gently mocking their guvnor, as well as the thoughtful epilogue on the same bench, with the builders gone, the extension complete, and a calmer future as a family to look forward to.
production photograph by Barry Weight