A Bunch of Amateurs Review by Fiona Murchie In this their 20th Anniversary Year, Crieff Drama Group absolutely excelled themselves with ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. This very funny play was brought to life thanks to the usual skilful performances by the cast that regular audience members have come to expect. Jane Drysdale was very convincing as the lynchpin of the Stratford Players, a struggling amateur dramatic group faced with the prospect of losing their beloved Barn Theatre. They think all their prayers have been answered when washed up Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steel, hilariously played by John Cummings, agrees to star in ‘King Lear’. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm palls when he realises they are not the RSC. This was the cue for the ‘star’ to act up and start making demands which were very entertainingly fulfilled. The other Stratford players were the delightfully pompous lawyer Nigel Newbury, played by Martin Dew and Helen Day as landlady Mary Plunkett, starstruck by the idea of a big star but unfortunately unable to work out just which actor he is, a wry comment on the type of person deemed to be leading man material. Neil Combe was very amusing as local yokel Denis who becomes Jefferson’s one man entourage and Janice Bourelle was very well cast as the apparent femme fatale - a misunderstanding which threatens to derail the whole enterprise. It was lovely to see a new cast member, the talented Arlene Cumming, as Jefferson’s daughter. The change of venue to Strathearn Artspace gave Gordon N Campbell, the director, the opportunity to be innovative in his presentation of the drama with certain scenes having been filmed in advance and projected for the audience. This added an extra dimension and turned it into a piece of theatre with a very 21st century feel. Credit to Perth FilmMakers for the video footage and editing which realised Gordon’s vision. The production team are too numerous to mention individually but they deserve a round of applause for all the hard work and dedication that goes into delivering three sellout nights of first class entertainment. Here’s to the next 20 years!