The International Theatre Studio Marbella has been bringing live theatre to the Costa del Sol since 1975 at a variety of venues, and last week presented two plays for four nights at El Paraíso Golf Club.
Bobbye Aaron performed The Hand of God, a monologue written by Alan Bennett for TV with Eileen Atkins in the 1990s, full of his sly northern jokes about the antique business. The audience was vastly entertained by Bobbye's interpretation. She was convincingly cunning and self assured - until her comeuppance, which was a joy to see. The set deserves a special mention; it was totally convincing as the interior of - dare we admit - a junk shop.
The Resounding Tinkle, by N. F. Simpson, completed the evening, and again the set was very believable as the sitting room of a suburban semi. The cast handled the dialogue with aplomb, which was a difficult feat because the whole script is illogical. A pet in the garden is a large elephant sent by mistake but swapped for a neighbour's boa constrictor and Uncle Ted was a glamorous woman - the entire play is an hilarious mixture of the mundane and sublime.
David Dunckley made a splendid return to ITS with his depiction of the husband, convinced he was living in a bungalow having never been upstairs in 20 years. During the church service on the radio his silent acting was worthy of Buster Keaton, and he was ably supported by Carmel Rogers as his long-suffering wife. She was delightful in her bewilderment of the strange happenings, so matter-of-fact about a man at the door who wanted her husband to form a government. Rebecca Flowerdew as Uncle Ted almost stole the show with her song and dance act - to say nothing of the deep husky voice emerging from a Bluebell Girl look-alike! The audience were quick to spot the off-centre jokes, and applauding thunderously, wishing they could see it again for the bits they missed first time round.
Miles Rendle as director is to be congratulated for choosing an evening which stretched the imagination; he introduced many people to "the theatre of the absurd" which flourished in the 50s, leading to Monty Python for instance, and was an inspiration to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
Congratulations to every one of the backstage crew led by Karl Maresz, Ruth Baldwin and Sandra Sprawson, with Diana King as producer. Andrew Gommersall was in charge of lighting and sound, with Karen Danzig's Del Sol choir very convincing as the congregation in the church service responding to Martin Curd in his address.
The ITS is badly in need of a "proper" theatre, while very grateful to El Paraíso members for allowing them to commandeer their space as they do. What a joy it would be to be able to seat more than 70 people, with good acoustics and sight lines.
The next two plays will be performed on 28 November at the same venue.