Play Big Bad Mouse brings down the house

Worksop’s Dukeries Theatre Group chose an old favourite for their November production at the Acorn Theatre. The play, by Phillip King and Falkland Cary and originally staged in 1964, became a real hit when Jimmy Edwards and Eric Sykes took on the lead roles.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th November 2011, 8:07 am

Eric would have been the perfect foil for Jimmy’s character’s outbursts. They both had a tendency to giggle and indeed they played havoc with the script. Director Donna Arnold had no problems keeping her team on track for this production.

Three young players were cast alongside four very experienced ones, the young actors being Abigail Jackson as Fiona, the secretary, James Overend as Harold the office junior and Natalie Fogg as Doris, niece of executive assistant Miss Spencer (Trudi Jackson).

Abigail follows in her mother Trudi’s footsteps and being cast alongside her made for interesting comparisons. Wearing typical 1960’s gear Abigail positively glowed with confidence on stage and, like her mother, became her character with ease.

James threw himself into the role of Harold and took to the role of boyfriend to Fiona like a proverbial duck to water.

Natalie breezed on stage like a breath of fresh air and seemed so naturally part of the team that I’m hoping to see more of her with DTG.

Central to the story is Mr. Price-Hargreaves an out-and-out office bully (‘out’ being his favourite command at high volume). This role, originally played by Jimmy Edwards, was taken on by Mike Tomlinson with an exhausting fervour. He managed to admirably portray the bully with an inflated sense of self-worth who, by the end of the play, becomes a beaten man.

Trudi Jackson, as his prim assistant Miss Spencer, brilliantly played the adoring spinster who finally becomes a liberated woman.

Heather Carroll played the role of the imperious Lady Chesapeake, the owner of Chunkibix, taking snootiness to a new level.Last, but by no means least, Mick Walters appeared as Mr. Bloome the junior executive. Mr. Bloome is the office ‘mouse’ relentlessly harried by the monstrous Price-Hargreaves. He undeservedly (we are led to believe) becomes labelled as a womaniser and rather takes to his reputation. He then is seen by others as the big bad mouse of the title.

Mick, having taken a 17-year break from DTG due to his career, made a brilliant comeback as Mr. Bloome. His comical costume glasses and flustered and ingratiating manner and finally his transformation made for some real comedy moments. All I can say is – what next Mick?

It’s been a good year for the Dukeries Theatre Group with them winning Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Drama Association awards for Best Set Design for All My Sons and Best Costumes for Charley’s Aunt.

I wish them well for another successful year to come.

by Wendy Fidoe