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A power cut an hour and a half before curtain up was not what the Clatford Amateur Dramatic Society needed to quell their opening night nerves. And there were sighs and cheers of relief when candles could be snuffed out just minutes before the audience started to arrive for the autumn show. Thankfully, no-one told the cast of the second play, Marigold Mews, that the author was sitting at the back of the hall!

By strange co-incidence the lights were planned to fail and add to the drama of the first play, The Offence by Diana Raffle. The stage plunged into darkness for a second time just at the denouement when inoffensive Ken, played convincingly by Geoff Scard, revealed he was the reason for the mysterious disappearance of most of the cast. Esther, played by Jean Williams, clutching her torch for dear life begs for his mercy, but the deed is already done and she succumbs to his poison.

Mark, the suspicious new drama group member, played with chilling vigour by Ted Brown, is left out in the cold as the light returns to reveal four seemingly dead bodies. The audience fears the worst as the director bursts through the door and announces "Not bad, not bad, once more from the top." A cunning play within a play, with some excellent funny lines that kept the audience both amused and on the edge of their seats.

The stage was miraculously transformed into a down and out's paradise for the second play while a theatre supper was enjoyed during the interval. Litter was strewn all over the floor and graffiti daubed on the walls as broom-wielding Arthur, alias Peter Smith, entered. He accidentally wakes larger-than-life Bo, played by Marlene Saunders, from her home in a cardboard box. She had the audience in hysterics as she swirled the contents of her po and then placed a plant in it. Joined by two more 'ladies of the road' Bo clashes with authority, but the truculent trio are then recruited for a street festival with colourful and comic results.

After the show Peter Rolls, the author of the award-winning play, said how much he had enjoyed the production. He was particularly impressed with the stage set, props and costumes. "Bo may have 'lost the plot' at times, but somehow was always in control and kept the audience on her side," he said. "Good on the general spirit of the part - the Becketty bits and the Pollocks.He had a positive comment for each member of the cast and concluded by saying: "You all came out on top and the end product was all-round excellent."

The Offence and Marigold Mews ran for two nights at the Goodworth Clatford Village Club. CADS next production is Christmas in Clatford, a cheeringly festive evening of song and readings on December 19 with no entrance fee! You will be welcomed with a mince pie and glass of mulled wine and any donations will go to the St Peter's Spire Appeal.