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Pip pip hooray for Bleak Expectations.

The idiom of 'break a leg 'before the curtain goes up happened and I am not sure whether it was a fracture that had one of the main characters on stage on crutches but what a super trouper

It would be true to say I had no great expectations of this am-dram production of Bleak Expectations in fact I was expecting forgotten and fumbled lines and mispositioned props and people.

Whoops, not so, this was a comedic masterclass performed by a fantastic troupe – in fact I would go as far as saying it is definitely a Rose Bowl award contender.

The ludicrous plots had echoes of The Goon Show with loud shrieks and shouts of ‘huzzah’ borrowed from The Great tv series about Russia in the time of Catherine the Great.

This was musical hall mixed with pantomime set in Victorian England using every storyline from Charles Dickens novels including Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Oliver Twist and of course Great Expectations while adding some wicked satire.

But the gags contained references to many of society’s ills (past and present) associated with poverty, poor housing, early demise and man’s inhumanity to man (and animals and women).

Heady stuff delivered with a thick coating of belly-aching humour.

With animalistic references (feral penguins), simulated sex initially using the euphemism of handshakes before scenes of more energetic rumpy-pumpy – I kid you not – it is hilarious.

The audience laughed out loud although often at different gags as I noticed my chortling wasn’t always in sync with other theatre goers.

This is Nailsea Little Theatre’s second show of the season and is directed by Phil Kingsley-Jones.

Based on the Radio 4 series by comedy writer, director and actor Mike Evans who has penned lines for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway this farce follows the extraordinary exploits of Phillip ‘Pip’ Bin and his sisters Pippa and Poppy along with best friend, useless inventor and swan trainer Harry Biscuit, as they attempt to escape the calculating clutches of the dastardly Mr Gently Benevolent and defeat the horrid Hardthrasher.

Even the names are a little rude hence St Bastards school where they serve wasp and sewage soup for lunch!

Older Pip is faultlessly narrated and with good humour by Steve Harrison while Julie Lawrence-Allan plays young Pip with aplomb and is the mainstay of the drama.

Becky Kingsley-Jones suffers from a multiple personality disorder as the widowed mother and plays a cat and a carpenter at different stages of the show, she never vacillates from the role she is currently portraying. Bravo.

The sisters Pippa (Kate Moody) and Poppy (Charlie Delahunty), the baddies Terry Emm and Darren Burrett and Steve Allan as Harry should also take a big bow.

Polish newcomer Netta Quint as Ripely Fecund is marvellous as are the rest of the cast too numerous to mention.

The props from false moustaches to wacky wigs and all the stage left, stage right, stage up the stairs, corridor trip and in the secret hatch phew exhausting but perfect delivery.

I went with retired teacher Clare Hunt and she said: “What a talented group

Flyer Bleak Expectations (3)_edited.jpg

Great expectations at Little Theatre


of actors Nailsea has and their skills were brilliantly displayed in this week's performance of Bleak Expectations.

“Dickens always surprised his audience and there was often great anticipation of what was to come next.

“This play does the same for its audience but with more laughs than Dickens probably imagined his work would inspire." 

To book tickets (we think there may be a few left) and/or for more information go to

Carol Deacon

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