(March 2019) Lust for Life – Review

Sibford Players raised the bar again this year, with a lively entertaining production which proved the perfect showcase for a wide range of talents. The variety show format, mixing up sketches, songs, dances and comedy routines made for a lively fast-moving evening full of surprises.

Jo Connor’s brave and brilliant performance of Victoria Wood’s classic keepfit comedy routine featuring unlikely step queen Hayley Bailey, raised the energy levels early on and the string of sketches which followed kept us on our toes.

Amidst the comedy there were some quirky, even poignant moments, as in the sketch where two ladies sit chatting on the pier and one admits to ‘tipping her husband over the edge,’ cue laughter, but then we discover she means his ashes.

Each sketch brought it’s own surprises, from the lady horse riders discussing mind-boggling philosophical questions, to the shell-suited simpletons Karl and Gayle.

Special mention to Dave Rowley for wearing the most revealing costume of the night, a skin tight green daffodil suit. Brave man.

Coping with so many set changes between a succession of short sketches might have slowed the pace and proved a distraction, but in an inspired move by Director Kat Davison every scene change became a little show of its own. Far from interrupting the flow they added to it, each one becoming increasingly ambitious until the ‘scene shifters’ observed through binoculars by a David Attenborough look-alike, almost stole the show. Moving furniture has never been so entertaining. Kat’s cast danced with tables, spun and swooped with chairs and entered and left the stage with immaculate timing in the guise of everything and anything from synchronised swimmers to Beyoncé backing dancers.

Not content with performing on stage, the Players had already been out and about using Sibford as the film set for an ambitious black and white Hammer horror-style movie. This surprise screening after the interval added yet another entertaining twist to the already packed programme.

Chris Cullen was perfectly cast as the evil Count Orlok, special mention to the three sisters’ wigs which deserved star billing. Vampire bites, plague-struck villagers, death and terror all adding up to a big screen helping of hilarious horror.

Classic sketches from comic greats including The Two Ronnies and Victoria Wood were perfectly placed between home-grown offerings from The Players’ own Dave Rowley and Ginny Bennett.

Sibford Village Hall was transformed into an impressive performance space with raked seating, lively set and excellent lighting and sound.

If ever there was a need for an evening of good old-fashioned fun and laughter to give us all a boost it’s now. Fangs for the fun Sibford Players, yet again you didn’t disappoint.