Perhaps best known as the home of regular political satire through its long running News Revue, this Christmas the team at the Canal Cafe bring us something a little different. Reminisnent of Aykbourn’s A Chorus of Dissapproval although much closer in style to the Zerlin Jnr and McGillivray Farndale Avenue series of plays, A Coalition Carol sees an amateur dramatics society shun panto this year for quasi-political experimental theatre.
Writer Bea Roberts has somehow managed to create a piece that manages to be both painfully un-funny and vaguely patronising. Her cliched view of the frustrated lives of amateur dramatic enthusiasts verges on the embarrassing and she thoroughly fails to engage us in the lives of any of the individuals invloved. In fact, The Spreyton Gurnish ADS updating of A Christmas Carol is far more engaging than the tenuous backstage story here and it’s rather a pity that it ends so abruptly.
The performances are fairly perfunctory too with plenty of mugging, forgotten lines and lashings of coarse acting, guaranteed to make nobody laugh, except perhaps friends of the cast. Luke Coldham as Ian manages to imbibe something into his rather weak-willed character and director Emma Taylor, doubling as the amateur director Jools, gets most of the best lines.