Quartet playing a fun game

A Trivial Pursuit

Newman House, Edgbaston

****

What do the following have in common: a librarian in a leotard, a botanist with no knowledge of plants, a Samaritans' listener with a less than sympathetic ear and a French professional gambler with a phoney accent?

Answer: they are the characters in a new play from Rugeley actor and playwright Gerry Hinks and his Opus Theatre Company.

Marcia, of the unsympathetic ear,  (Alyson Joynes) and Beryl, the librarian, (Lindsey Carr) share both a house and a passion for 1980's board game Trivial Pursui.

It is rather more than a hobby, more even than a mere passion, it is also a source of income as the pair have a series of regular gentlemen callers, each with their own evening, who arrive for supper and a game of Trivial Pursuits for money.  High stake for cheeses or, as Marcia keeps reminding everyone: “They are segments, dear”.

Marcia, with an accent suitable for the station in life she sees herself inhabiting within the Wilmslow elite, is trying hard to display a little class in a house that has bathrooms rather than the more common toilets and even lavatories. 

Beryl, on the other hand, has no such illusions. She is down to earth with her northern accent and on the face of it she is not one of nature's gifted intellectuals – although her knowledge does surprise from time to time, indicating there could be much more circulating in her head than air.

Anthony (Keith Minshull) is the botanist whose knowledge of botany is not going to stand up to examination. He is a regular player in the ladies' profitable little set-up and unexpectedly joining them is Garard Le Fevre (Alan Birch, seen recently in the lead role in the two Inspector Drake movies).

Le Fevre – the French equivalent of Smith – has a French accent which seems to have its origins somewhere between Bordeaux and Barnsley. He claims to be a professional gambler who has heard of the Trivial Pursuit evenings from the big cheeses (sorry about that one, groan if you wish) ain the gambling scene and wants to join the action.

But is everyone who they seem? It would be a pretty short and dull play if they were  and after patiently setting the scene in the first act Hinks them demolishes that scenario and builds a new one in the second.

At times the plot might stretch credulity, but then again not many comedies or farces stand up to forensic scrutiny under the cold light of logic, but it is fun to watch with a good cast, directed by the author, keeping everything moving along at a cracking pace.

You have Alyson Joynes and Lindsey Carr bouncing off each other in one corner and Birch and Minshull sparring in the other as the real story o the evening evolves twisting and turning its way to its conclusion - which comes down to  . . . a game of Trivial Pursuits. 10-11-13.

Roger Clarke

 

A Trivial Pursuit continues around the board at Stafford Gatehouse, Wednesday and Thursday Nov 13 and 14 and

Hixon Village Hall, Hixon, on Friday, Nov 15. 

Home Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre